Get Potty Potting up Autumn Pots!
Don’t give up on your garden, get potty potting. Here at Preston Bissett Nurseries I have been making containers and baskets that will look colourful throughout the winter and into spring. Autumn containers are one of the best-kept secrets. We need some fresh colour to cheer us up when it’s chilly and a bit grey so get rid of the tired summer bedding plants on the compost heap and plant the pots up for winter, don’t leave them dead and dull.
The great thing about autumn containers, apart from colour, is that all the plants you use are hardy. If you do want to replant the pots in May next year with summer bedding your hardy plants can be replanted into the garden, though often pots of mixed evergreen are equally lovely throughout the year.
The first decision is what kind of containers do you have to plant because different shapes and styles lend themselves to different planting styles.
A large classic Cretan pot may possible suit an equally impressive large architectural shrub or small tree, perhaps a red acer. A square lead renaissance style container can look great with topiary box. A rich red salt glazed tall pot would suit a lolly pop olive or small shaped holly as an alternative Christmas tree and a small terracotta bowl would look lovely with an arrangement of alpines dressed with a bit of alpine grit.
Often what we plant is partially determined by where we are placing the pots. Are they an identical pair to stand either side of steps or a grand entrance and they need to make a statement or are they a collection of mismatched terracotta with a quaint potage feel? Should they look simple and minimalistic perhaps to be arranged on a gravel path, each needing to look bold not misplaced or lost
The scenarios for what we need a container to achieve and how it should be clothed are endless but once it is clear it is much easier to choose the outfit!. You will be enjoying these pots over the dormant winter so nothing will grow much, what you plant will stay looking as you intended.
The pots we made at our Autumn Container Workshop were simple combinations of colourful evergreen with a sprinkling of winter violas or pansies for good measure. We simply spent some time looking at how the colours and tones of these beautiful evergreens merge so fabulously together. In one large Yorkshire terracotta pot we planted a feathery dwarf Nadine domesticas with a small glossy green leafed red berried skimmia at the front, a Photinia ‘Little Red Robin’ added dark red foliage, a small leafed yellow thyme and twiggy Lonicera nitida variegated added a sprinkling of yellow and a wonderful rusty apricot, Heuchera ‘Redstone Falls’ tumbled gracefully over the rim. These shades burned beautifully into the terracotta and should continue to do so for a long time.
I am very proud to report my tutees drew together an array of exquisite colour combinations. Rich warm burgundy tones are always one of my favourites. A 14inch wicker hanging basket was planted really well with a fresh evergreen fern, a black grass, variegated sage, silvery ivy and a dominant dark Obsidian heuchera and a few white violas for a contrast against the purply dark reds which will recede. Simple contrast like white against dark purple tones look elegant. Similarly some of the soft green foliage plants coupled with white pernettya berries, heathers and violas can look refreshing and lift our spirits.
In summary, once you have taken into account the style of your pot, where it is going to be placed and what colours you will enjoy you will find there are some lovely plants that merge together beautifully in a container that you will probably be enjoying for a long time.