‘Easy to care for’ winter plants to add a ‘pop of colour’ to gardens

This Morning: Daisy talks about winter gardening tasks

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Winter gardens can look one-dimensional and dull due to a lack of colour and plants at this time of year. While it can be tempting to ignore gardens in the winter months, this can actually make gardening more challenging in the spring.

Furthermore, gardens can end up looking dried out, unkempt and even dead. Ahead of the colder months, head gardener from Tresco’s famous Abbey Garden, Andrew Lawson, has shared his tips on gardening this winter.

Adding colour to winter gardens

Adding colour to winter gardens will brighten up the space. Some winter flowers that add colour include dahlias and violas.

If you’re not a fan of those, gardeners can try pansies, hellebores, camellias, coronilla and sarcococca.

Andrew said these plants are “winter-resistant” while also adding vibrance to grey, overcast winter days.

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He explained: “Not only will they be winter resistant, but they’ll also add a pop of colour to brighten your day.

“They’re also very easy to care for – simply pot them in a container or border with all-purpose compost and they’ll be happy.”

Protecting plants/flowers from frost

This is a key job gardeners should be doing at this time of year to protect plants ready for next year.

Andrew said: “Larger more tender plants in mainland gardens may need fleecing to help protect them from the cold and frost – especially if there is a forecast drop in temperature.

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“Fleecing is a thin, nonwoven fabric which is used to protect both late and early crops and delicate plants from cold weather and frost.

“It’s very easy to use: simply wrap your plant with it (make sure it’s not too tight though), or put it on top of your patch, while making sure it’s nice and secure with pegs or string.

“If you have plants like Aeoniums in pots outside, now is the time to think of moving them into a well-lit position in a conservatory or cold glasshouse to keep them fairly dry as cold and wet together is usually more damaging.”

Plants that do well in cold weather

At Tresco’s Abbey Gardens, gardeners plant flowers from all around the world, including from Brazil, Burma and South Africa.

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Andrew’s “favourite” winter plants this year include King Proteas, Lobster Claws and Pelargoniums. However, he said, “the more exotic the better”.

With this in mind, Andrew has recommended three plants if you’re looking for hardy plants that will survive the winter months:

Luma apiculata

This plant, from southern Chile, can grow to be as tall as seven metres tall.

The plant produces gorgeous orange peeling bark and white flowers in September.

Mitraria coccinea

This plant is also from southern Chile and is a low scrambling shrub. The plant can grow to be 1.5m in height with beautiful orange/red sparkling flowers in summer.

Metrosideros umbellata

This is a small tree from southern New Zealand that has red flowers in summer.

Propagating plants for the season ahead

If you’re worried about frost damaging plants, or you’re simply wanting to add more plants to the garden but want to save money, try taking cuttings of it to create additional plants.

Andrew recommended coleus neochilus and plectranthus argentatus.

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