Dec 212015
 
Greys-Court-plant-theatre

Greys Court, Oxfordshire

On a day out at Greys Court last year, my Mum admired a plant theatre, filled with pansies and violas. In the gift shop, she picked up a leaflet that contained instructions for making one, and then thought no more about it.

On Christmas Day last year, after all the presents had been opened, my Dad disappeared into the garage and came back in, carrying a large present for my Mum. It was a plant theatre, similar to the one above. Every time Mum had gone out, Dad had worked on it in secret. Dad’s not big on grand (or small) gestures, so we were all quite gobsmacked.

The theatre now has pride of place on the wall of the house, and is currently filled with pansies and violas, just like this one.

Season’s greetings!

May 062013
 
Regents Park

Regents Park

A lot of plants are stuffed into this window box – two ivies, four skimmias, three standard olives, several violas and about 10 tulips. It’s more than most people would bother with (and it wouldn’t have come cheap), but it looks gloriously exuberant. The olives, skimmias and ivies are evergreen and so look good all year; they also provide the basic structure. Only the bedding plants will need to be replaced when they run out of steam. Classy.

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Oct 272012
 
Pansies and heather

Wimpole Street

I rarely get two blog posts from one street on the same day, but seconds before I clapped eyes on the bonkers Virginia creeper below, I saw these tasteful winter pots.

I’m not that keen on pansies or heathers, but these are transformed by their ‘Long Tom’-style pots. They’re set off to perfection by the huge front door that’s just to the left of this window, painted the most delicious shade of dark purple.

Oct 212011
 

Regent's Park

I find this pot a bit depressing. It’s perfectly nice and everything, but the sight of it makes my heart sink a little.

Let me explain. This container contains all the usual suspects for winter interest –  ivy, tree heather, cyclamen, pansies and an ornamental cabbage. Go to any garden centre now and these plants are pretty much what’s on offer. And they’ll continue to be on offer until next spring. And therein lies my problem.

Whereas the choice of plants for summer pots is vast, with lots of potential for colour and exciting plant combinations, there are hardly any options for winter pots. It’s quite hard to find an unsual cyclamen or pansy, let alone come up with an amazing planting combination. It takes real skill and imagination to come up with anything a bit different for winter, and lots of people don’t bother.

And so, the hunt is on. I will endeavour to bring you some winter pots that are truly amazing, and hereby ban red cyclamen and purple pansies from this blog. Let’s just hope I that doesn’t mean its pages will be empty…