Before all the raking last week I planted up our winter containers, thinking I would be a bit run off my feet for the next couple of weeks.
Outside the Long Gallery where we hold our wedding receptions I planted up the troughs with Cyclamen, heather and Ajuga, very similar to last year. These little cyclamen are something of a gamble as in a cold winter (like last years) they tend to get rather unhappy, but in a mild year they can be good for a fair while. The heather and ajuga combined with the simple shapes of the box and bay can ‘carry’ it by themselves if the cyclamen do fail. Last year I left the Ajuga in the containers through Spring and into Summer when they succumbed to powdery mildew. Next year I think they’ll go out into the garden when I put the Summer plants in.
In the stone trough outside the offices I took a different approach to previous years.
The shrub in the middle is a permanent planting of Myrtle which I’ve surrounded with silver variegated ivy, blue violas and Helleborus argutifolius ‘Silver Lace’. I’m never sure about pansies/violas for the winter because I use them so much the rest of the year and also because I think of them as a Spring plant, so they seem a little out of place in Winter. I’ve decided to give them a try though because yet more heather and cyclamen is getting, well, boring. The rather lovely silvery hellebore can certainly find a spot in the garden come Spring – I do like using plants for containers that can then be transferred to the garden once their job is done.
The sheep have already escaped once and pulled all the ivy out. Fingers crossed that between sheep and winter these plantings get through to at least late January relatively intact!