Let’s forget winter and leap straight to spring

Wallflowers - one of the cheapest and most reliable plants for containers.
Wallflowers - one of the cheapest and most reliable plants for containers.
Brian Andrews, Frances Leppard and Charles Mobsby with their trophies

Top-notch daffodils reap rewards as village spring show returns for 2018

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

Why not plant some daffs about four inches above the bottom of a pot with another layer on top. When they flower the whole pot will be filled with blooms.

Choose a named variety and the flowers and foliage will find their way to the top and they will all bloom at the same time.

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

On top of the pot plant a few winter-flowering pansies. Dark blue, this will give you a beautiful contrast of white, orange and blue. Winter-flowering pansies can also be enhanced by planting hyacinths. Make sure the tops of the bulbs are an inch below the compost’s surface. If the container is near a door you will 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 the entire container will be covered in April and May.

You could try orange and blue winter-flowering pansies on their own or, if you have lots of forget-me-nots, dig out a few and plant them really thickly on top of the container. Before that, plant pink tulips underneath, about four inches apart. They aren’t that expensive and after all, the forget-me-nots were free.

I’m often asked which spring-flowering plants are best for wet places. Primula denticulata is best. It’s available in white, pink or blue. A good plant to go with it is variegated ivy. The reason is the primulas don’t usually have leaves all winter so the ivy prevents the container looking bare and the primulas look brilliant when they flower.

Polyanthus are a good choice. They don’t like standing in water but will withstand wet winter conditions.

Wallflowers are not successful if the compost in containers gets too wet, so put the containers on little feet.

The great advantage of wallflowers is that they are still one of the cheapest and most reliable plants for containers and are beautifully perfumed too.

Look out for Orange Bedder, Blood Red or Golden Bedder and use the colours to blend or contrast. If planted not less than five inches apart, you’ll find one looks after the other in the container and they will all flower together when the warm spring weather arrives.

In normal circumstances the wallflower remains evergreen and noticeable in winter whereas a lot of other plants almost disappear.


Before lighting the bonfire check there are no hedgehogs asleep in the base. Even if you live in a densely populated area, they may have chosen your garden in which to hibernate.