Brighten up your windowsills this winter with containers filled with a variety of colourful leafy evergreens and pretty flowers. This group of greenery is in a rustic terracotta window box but the plants would be equally effective in a smart contemporary pot, like those from Cadix available at ACHICA.
Lush pots of flowers and foliage make great Christmas gifts for mums, dads and grannies. They’re quick and easy to make and if it’s too cold to venture outside, plant them up on the kitchen table. Check out your local garden centre of specialist nurseries online for a great selection of leafy evergreens, such as heucheras, lamiums and grasses, plus colourful pansies and violas. Also look for spring bulb bargains – many are now half price and as long as they don’t feel soft, they will still flower if planted before early December.
You can copy this window box or substitute the lamium for a colourful bugle (Ajuga reptans ‘Atropurpurea’), which is the pink and green variegated plant shown above. If you’re planting a large pot, add a conifer, shrub or evergreen fern to lend the arrangement some height. Ferns look great with bugle in winter pots and both are perfect for shady gardens.
Now, just follow these simple steps to make your window box.
You will need:
Long window box with drainage holes in the bottom
Narcissus ‘Hawera’ or similar short-stemmed daffodil
Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’
Lamium maculata ‘Chequers’
Viola Sorbet Antique Shades and Viola Primrose Babyface
First, cover the drainage holes in the window box with some pieces of polystyrene plant packaging or broken clay pots. Then add a layer of compost. If you have some daffodil bulbs, place these on the compost with the pointed end facing up and cover them with more compost.
Arrange the rest of your plants in the window box on top of the bulbs – which will squeeze through the gaps in spring – mixing contrasting colours and textures to create the best effect. Set the lamium at the front, where it will trail over the side. You can choose any colourful heuchera since all are evergreen – Plantagogo has an extensive range if you can’t find what you like at the garden centre. When planting the wallflowers, carefully prise the stems apart to form a line at the back of the pot, where they will grow taller and flower in spring.
Don’t leave large spaces between the plants, as they won’t grow much during the winter and your display will look very sparse. Also leave a gap of about 2cm (1in) between the top of the compost and the rim of the window box to allow space for watering. When you are happy with your arrangement, add more compost around each of the plants and firm in well. Water the box sparingly during dry spells over winter, and then increase watering when spring arrives. The daffodils will bloom from February and the violas will also start to spread as light levels increase in spring.
Decorate your house walls as well as the windows with a few pots and matching plants – this little basket adds a sprinkling of colour to my white-washed walls. Remember to puncture some drainage holes in the plastic lining of baskets before you start planting.
To shop the Cadix promotion check out ACHICA from Sunday 18 November
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shop at ACHICA.
Zia Allaway, Garden Expert
View all posts by Zia Allaway, Garden Expert