Fitting a garden into a container

PUBLISHED: 13:44 01 June 2006 | UPDATED: 14:42 12 May 2010

Plants in pots can be very attractive

Plants in pots can be very attractive

PLANTING up containers with seasonal flowers rings the changes in the appearance of courtyards and patios where winter pansies, spring bulbs and tender summer plants such as geraniums can all follow each other. However, it is possible to have some permane

PLANTING up containers with seasonal flowers rings the changes in the appearance of courtyards and patios where winter pansies, spring bulbs and tender summer plants such as geraniums can all follow each other.

However, it is possible to have some permanent planting in containers as well which need not be disturbed each year and can give continuity in a different way.

Lavenders suit containers since they grow well in dry sunny conditions and do not need rich compost, in fact they flower best on low nutrients. The earliest varieties bloom in May and others follow later in the summer and throughout the winter their silver foliage looks attractive. The only attention they need is dead-heading after flowering and some trimming back in the autumn. Their other attraction is the scent from the flowers or the foliage if it is gently squeezed.

Rose breeders have realised in recent years that many people have very small gardens and as a result they have bred a good range of patio roses which adapt well to containers. Admittedly they look a little bare in winter, but if snowdrop bulbs or miniature daffodils are planted with them the containers will only look bare for a couple of months. Patio roses should be planted in a soil-based compost and, if they are fed and watered regularly and dead flowers are always removed, they can flower all summer long.

The herb thyme is another permanent plant for containers. It keeps its foliage throughout the winter and has pretty mauve flowers in summer. Like the lavender, its leaves are aromatic and, of course, it is a favourite ingredient in a lot of cooking.

Finally, try agapanthus, a late summer flowering bulbous lily with spectacular blue flowers which enjoys the constriction of containers and, with protection, need not be lifted during the winter months.


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