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May 26, 2017

A Colourful Winter Planter

How to make a colourful winter planter

the empty lined planter
the empty lined planter

Making the planter

A few days ago a friend approached me with a home made planter and challenged me to fill it with colourful flowers. The planter was well made; he had used decking wood which is a good idea. Decking is already treated wood, reasonably wide and value for money. It is easy to work with and after he cut the long strips he simply made a box screwed together with a small pillar of wood in each corner. He had lined it with plastic to ‘retain the water’. I explained to him, that firstly we are not creating a bog garden and the plants will only die unless we slit the plastic for drainage and secondly that during January you can’t expect a riot of colour. He answered me, “come on Boris, I am sure you can do something just make sure  that it will show  a lot of  colour  over the next few months without me needing to tend to it.”

Adding the Plants

I set out to find ‘a lot of colour’ in the garden centre. The only perennial I could find in flower was the Hellebore which I have written about in my other column this week ‘Flower of The Week.’ I then chose two Skimmia plants that were just beginning to break bud and would definitely stay in flower over the next few months. Of course we need to add some green material , for this I chose a variegated euonymus and I found two miniature Christmas trees ( just 25cm. high) that the garden centre were getting rid of at a reduced price.

Not enough colour
Not enough colour

I took some top soil from my allotment (as bought compost costs around 10p per litre) and filled the bottom half of the planter, and then filled the rest with bought compost, I then eased the plants from their pots [ the miniature xmas trees were so pot bound they seemed to have been left over from 2015!]  and planted them into the trough. I stood back and admired my work but I decided that it would not yet fit my friend’s requirement of ‘lots of colour’ . Back to the garden centre I went – and I was lucky to find that they had a new delivery of cyclamen and it was these flowers that came to the rescue. After dotting a few plants here and there it now really looks a riot of colour, and then as an extra – I had some hyacinth bulbs that I still had not planted up – and I pushed them into the soil so we are guaranteed colour till the end of March. I topped it up with some wood and leaf chippings from the shredded Christmas tree- [they will spruce up the trough and give passers by a pine scent!] – and  they definitely give it a  professional finishing touch.

finally in situ
finally in situ

My friend thanked me and paid for my work and the plants – and I hope this will inspire you too

Boris Legarni .

About The Author

Profile photo of Boris Legarni

Boris inherited his green fingers from his mother, who was still planting potatoes and rhubarb in the sixties as she was afraid that they would once again be rationed. As a teenager he used to plant radishes in the corner of the school garden and sell them during break time for sixpence, to give his classmates a healthy crunchy snack. He and his wife both have had an allotment for years, but there is no competition – he does the planting and she does the harvesting and cooking. With a passion for growing anything edible, Boris has planted dozens of named fruit trees in his orchard. Nevertheless he is an avid flower arranger, and assists local communities and charities with his flower arrangements. Boris tells us that after so many years on the allotment he has made all the mistakes possible, and he will share with you his practice to make yours perfect!

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4 Comments

  1. Pingback: A Colourful Winter Planter – Goto 4 Gardening

  2. Profile photo of Jack
    Jack

    I’m sure you can – just follow Boris’s instructions. Even if you can’t make the wooden planter, y ou should be able to pick up a cheap plastic one and then fill it as Boris recommends

  3. Profile photo of Germanium
    Germanium

    Have a go Barbara! What I would say is that the display Boris has made is made up of quite pricey plants. If you are on a bit of a budget try the 6-packs of bedding (available seemingly everywhere!) The packs I have seen range from £3.99-£5.99 and you’d probably need two or three packs to fill a trough this size, just remember to allow for their spreading. There are some really successful displays in troughs around where I live that have seasonal planting at the front (pansies/violas/etc.) and taller, longer-term planting at the back.
    🙂

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