BRIAN KIDD: Dripping gutters? Then you need primula denticulata...

Narcissus Geranium.

Let’s have a look at a few plants which will give us a spring to look forward to.

Firstly, why not plant some daffs in potting compost about four inches above the bottom of the pot with another layer on top of them so when they bloom, the whole pot is filled with flowers?

It’s amazing. The flowers and foliage all find their way to the top and if they are all the same variety they will flower simultaneously.

If you would like a narcissus which is wind-resistant, look out for the variety Geranium. It has a wonderful perfume.

On top of the pot, plant a few winter-flowering pansies. Choosing a dark blue will give you a beautiful contrast of white, orange and blue.

Winter-flowering pansies can also be enhanced by planting hyacinths. The bulbs’ noses should be an inch below the compost’s surface. If the container is near a door you will be able to enjoy the perfume early next spring.

The hyacinths will probably come into bloom in late February. There will be just a few pansies in flower at that time, but there will be complete coverage of the whole container with pansy flowers in April and May.

What about orange and blue winter-flowering pansies on their own? Or, if you have lots of forget-me-nots in the garden, dig out a few, plant them really thickly on top of the container but before that plant some pink tulips underneath, about four inches apart. They aren’t all that expensive and after all you got the forget-me-nots free!

I’m very often asked which of the spring-flowering plants is best for wet places. Perhaps the excess moisture is caused by drips from guttering?

Well, primula denticulata is the very best one. It’s available in white, pink or blue and a good plant to go with it is variegated ivy. The reason for this idea is because primulas don’t usually have leaves all winter so the ivy stops the container looking bare, but the primulas look brilliant when they flower in the spring.

Polyanthus are a good choice too. They don’t like standing in water but they will put up with wet winter conditions and won’t let you down.

Wallflowers are not successful if the soil gets too wet in containers, but don’t be afraid of planting out wallflowers because you feel they are too common. They are excellent as long as containers are well-drained.

The advantage of choosing wallflowers is they are still one of the cheapest and most reliable plants for containers.

Try Orange Bedder, Blood Red or Golden Bedder and then use the colours to blend or contrast.

If planted not less than five inches apart you will find one looks after the other and they will all flower together when the warm spring weather arrives.

Normally, the wallflower remains evergreen and noticeable in winter whereas a lot of other plants almost disappear.

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