THE POTTED GARDEN:
CREATIVE CHRISTMAS CONTAINERS
Give your planters and containers a seasonal makeover and let your garden be part of your Christmas decorations this year
Revamping old pots is a great way to make the garden more festive. You can also buy terracotta, ceramic or plastic pots – glazed or coloured in red or white – or simply upcycle some household containers. Painting wooden or terracotta pots to give them a lift or wrapping them in fabric, tinsel or big bows is another way to make a stunning seasonal statement.
Remember to check that your container has plenty of drainage holes. Waterlogged roots is the number one reason that container plants die in winter so make extra holes if necessary and fill the bottom with stones or broken pottery. Add multi-purpose compost until the pot is about half full and then get planting.
As an alternative to the traditional red colour scheme of Christmas try mixing white and silver for a clean and stylish look. Put grey-leafed lavender and senecio together with white cyclamen and decorate with strings of silver beads and small LED white lights. Or, go for a beautiful Christmas rose – Helleborus niger – and plant with pale pink or white cyclamen and training ivy around the edges to make the container feel like it’s overflowing.
Water everything in. You may need to top up the soil a bit once you have done that and don’t forget to leave about three centimetres between the soil surface and the container lip. This ensures that it doesn’t overflow every time you water it.
If pots and containers are just part of your outside space then here are some gardening tips for this month from the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society):
• Check your winter protection structures are still securely in place
• Check that greenhouse heaters are working
• Insulate outdoor taps and prevent ponds from freezing
• Prune open-grown apples and pears (but not those trained against walls)
• Prune acers, birches and vines before Christmas to avoid bleeding
• Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops
• Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted
• Take hardwood cuttings
• Keep mice away from stored produce
• Reduce watering of houseplants