Let There Be Life

                                                          THE WINTER GARDEN

alternative christmas baubles

SOLANUM Pseudocapsicum planted in pots and containers. Starting as a tiny white flower turning to an orange ball, will add some lovely colour to a sheltered spot in hanging pots or containers.


“Anyone can be a gardener this time of year” a friend of mind once said this to me as I helped her choose some plants for her summer garden. “but the difference is you know how to be a gardener all year round”  These kind and generous words still resonate with me almost twenty years later as I help plan and design outside spaces for others.

No need for the garden to be a dank, grey place to look upon this time of year, there doesn’t need to be a break from great flower displays.  The winter garden, if planned correctly, will delight us just as much as the summer garden and here is a few ideas about how you can achieve this.




Planting Idea: At the end of spring plant snowdrop bulbs in close groups of three to our into the lawn. Space out each group by about six to eight inches covering the entire area. Your reward – a carpet of white covers the lawn from mid January to mid February every year.


Plant in clusters underneath trees or to carpet woodland areas in your garden. They also look pretty in containers, beneath a bay tree or other small tree and will come up year after year.


This plant produces beautiful big flowers, plant outside in abundance to create wonderful winter borders.



frosty winter scene

WHITE HEATHER in a terracotta pot on the patio

Prune winter heathers back to green (never to the woodu stalks)  in spring to produce more flowers the following winter




Pretty as a Picture Patio

pretty as a picture patio

Pick a corner, any corner of your garden and create instant interest and the perfect place to sit and here’s how:


Step one

Take a wall hanging basket and fill it with flowers of your choice, add trailers to the front of the wall hanging basket. They will drop down to meet the main feature plant growing up from the large planter placed below this.

hydrenga and hanging basket


Step Two

Place a large pot of the prolific blooming hydrenga, shown above, or another large pot of flowers or flowering shrub of you choice beneath the wall hanging basket

alium family

Step 3

Add smaller pots, so as not to overshadow the main feature plant, to each side of the main feature pot.  Plant these up with tall growing flowering plants such as this Allium above. These will help cover/conceal the wall/fence backdrop and give you a sense of being immersed in the garden.


hydrenga patio

Step 4

To create another layer add smaller pots to the front of the arrangement.

hydrenga patio and garden


Step 5

Add in your garden furniture, a couple of chairs, a bench, a small side table whatever you have room for.


And there you have it in five easy steps your perfect summer patio planted up. Now you can really get amongst it and enjoy summer on the patio.

Don’t let the sun go down


We are well into autumn, the days are getting shorter and the colours around have never been more striking. The contrasts between the vibrant colours of the changing leaves and the darker moodier sky captures the imagination..  Keep the colours trooping and add in some pots or hanging plants to enhance the vibe.

Pansies and violas are the perfect plant for this.  They will bloom well into November.

Colourful potted pansy keeping the interest in the Autumn garden
Potted Pansies in shades of autumn


Deadhead (remove faded blooms) if you want to have blooms a plenty during the first weeks of potting.  As the plant starts to loose energy leave the flower heads to die back on the plant. Collect the seeds, after the flower heads fade, from the remaining pod  and replant in a cold frame or in early spring to enjoy their colourful display all over again.

pansy seed head
Faded flower head


Extracted pansy seeds