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The cold days of winter are anything but a quiet time in the gardenerís calendar ..... itís one of the most productive times of year because itís the best time to plan for the year ahead and make changes in your garden.
Winter is one of the best times for planting out perennials, and perfect for catching up on transplanting. Having waited patiently through the warmer months of summer and autumn, now itís time to get stuck into the serious business of transplanting those old favourites that really need to be shifted into just the right spot you had in mind.
Once the serious work is all done, then you can get on with the fun of planting out your new flowering bulbs and perennials - and the choice is endless !
One of the most exciting things is choosing a new plant to bring colour into the garden, from winter flowering hellebores, to glorious summer flowering liliums, brilliant gladioli, romantic clematis and classic roses. And if you companion plant these showy beauties with clever ground covers such as violas, geraniums, campanulas and veronicas, you will have the added beauty of an easy, low-maintenance flower garden.
Cottage garden favourites such as aquilegias, delphiniums, penstemon and salvias bring wonderful colour to perennial borders, whilst the delightful foliage and flowers of kniphofias and canna lilies make a bold statement in contrast.
The soft pinks of sidalceas and anisodonteas combine brilliantly with the crisp white of shasta daisies and snow drop anemones to create the ultimate romantic garden. Plant generous groups of pink asiatics in between the perennials for extra summer colour, and add some delicious white and pink oriental lilies for fragrant highlights.
Grow purple clematis up a garden trellis to create the perfect backdrop for a sunny bed of yellow roses, golden crocosmia and daylilies. Make the most of the brilliant jewel colours of asiatic lilies or gladioli to create colour accents to suit your personal garden colour scheme. Itís always best to plant in bold groups for maximum impact, otherwise single plants can look a bit Ďlostí.
In the midst of winter, the timeless beauty of the hellebore comes into its own. With their unique flowers in an amazing array of colours from opalescent white to rich burgundy, they brighten the dull days of winter. These Ďwinter rosesí hold their flowers for many weeks, and with their lush foliage they make a winning combination in any shady spot. Plant beneath deciduous trees for a picture-perfect effect.
The shade loving agapanthus ĎAdelaideí makes a welcome addition to the shady garden, with its soft blue flowers. Combine with a foreground planting of tradescantias to create a cool oasis of vibrant blues and greens. The elegant hydrangeas love a shady moist position too, and evoke memories of grandmaís garden in days gone by.
In a hot spot, the tough-as-old-boots euphorbias and sedums are a showy choice for the drought tolerant garden, giving a dependable display almost all year round and bringing a distinctive look to the structure of your garden.
For something a little more unusual, plant a fairy fishing wand next to a pond for a magical effect, or pot up some quirky echeveria for a novelty on the patio. The striking flower spikes of the rare foxtail lily make an exciting addition, its beautiful range of colours perfectly suited to a Tuscan courtyard or Mediterranean style garden.
Last but definitely not least, every garden should have at least one rose bed, and the choice of colour, size, shape and fragrance is almost endless. If youíve never grown roses before, donít be afraid to give them a goÖ. theyíre surprisingly tough, and easy to grow.
Just follow the basic golden rules ... regular feeding and watering, good air circulation, and donít be afraid to prune them as often as they need it. The end result is a well shaped rose bush that will reward you with more flowers.
The secret to brilliant gardens is clever planting combinations, and is limited only by your imagination. So be inspired, get out in the garden and give it a goÖ.come summer time, youíll be so glad you did !
by Jenny Waldock
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