BRIAN KIDD: Get away from the thought that wallflowers are too common

Cheap and reliable  wallflower Orange Bedder.  Picture: David Monniaux

Cheap and reliable  wallflower Orange Bedder. Picture: David Monniaux

Polyanthus: dig them up when they finish blooming.

BRIAN KIDD: on how to save polyanthus and potted roses

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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 about four inches above the bottom of a pot, with another layer on top of them so when they bloom the whole pot is filled with blooms?

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

If you would like a narcissus which is wind-resistant, then try the variety called Geranium. It has a wonderful perfume.

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

Winter-flowering pansies can also be enhanced by hyacinths. The noses of the bulbs should be an inch below the surface of the compost.

If the container is near a door, you will enjoy the perfume early next spring. The hyacinths will bloom probably in late February, March or April. The pansies will be in flower at that time but the whole container will be covered 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 beneath, about four inches apart. They aren’t too expensive and after all you got the forget-me-nots free.

I’m often asked which spring-flowering plant is best for wet places – perhaps somewhere beneath a dripping gutter. Well, primula denticulata is best. It’s available in white, pink or blue and a good plant to go with it is variegated ivy.

The reason for this is that primulas don’t usually have leaves all winter so ivy prevents the container looking bare. However, 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 a wet winter and won’t let you down.

Wallflowers are not successful in wet compost. Don’t be afraid to plant them because you feel they are too common. They’re excellent if their containers are well-drained.

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

Look out for 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 in the container and they will all flower together when the warm spring weather arrives.

Wallflowers should remain evergreen and noticeable in winter whereas a lot of other plants almost disappear.

These ideas will encourage you to look forward to spring.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Before storing plastic garden furniture away for the winter, give it a good wash using Flash. It brings it up like new again. 
Allow it to dry before covering with especially-manufactured garden furniture covers.

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