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Being potty.

78 comments


I am definitely a potty person, but I think you knew that, didn’t you.

Until I was thinking about this blog, I hadn’t actually counted how many pots or containers I have around the garden – but I make it 24, not including the wooden boxes along the fence or my Coprosmas which are tucked in the greenhouse for the winter.

I change the planting in the pots for the autumn each year, and this is quite a job – but an enjoyable one.

Skimmia rubella

After I’ve emptied the pots of the summer bedding, I collect together the plants that I keep from year to year. Not only does this save money, but I can’t bear throwing good plants away, so I pot them up and tuck them away until I need them. One of these is Skimmia rubella. I have three which I bought as tiny plants.

In their first year, I planted all three at the back of my gate trough, with pink polyanthus and trailing ivies.

Last year, I planted one in a green glazed pot to add height to the planting of white cyclamen and Lamium, which trails nicely after a while.

Another useful and attractive plant is Photinia ‘Little Red Robin’. I leave this in its pot, and add winter pansies in a toning colour.

Last year’s pansies

This year’s pansies

Other plants I keep for use from year to year are Euonymus, small conifers and trailing ivies, as well as grasses and Heucheras. I also have a lovely dwarf Skimmia called ‘Magic Marlot’ which I’ve had for three years.

I don’t only use pansies (or violas) in my autumn plantings, although they do seem to be the longest lasting plants, which may take a break from flowering in the coldest weather, but stage a come-back in milder spells. Violas seem to last longer, and also stand up to bad weather better. If I plant a whole container with just violas or pansies, I make sure that I pack them in, which creates a really good display.

Cyclamen

I can’t resist Cyclamen, although they don’t like wet and cold weather. They usually hang on in there until just before Christmas, when I have to remove them and replace them with something like Bellis, Primroses or Polyanthus.

I have three chimney pots, two sit in the porch, and one is by the wall of the house. I have plastic pots which just fit into the top of each pot, so it’s easy to replant one and swap it over.

When I plant up a pot, I try to balance it. Firstly, by colour, then varying leaf-shapes for extra interest, and also at least one taller plant so that the flowers don’t look ‘flat’, and trailing plants to ‘soften’ the edges.

I also under-plant all my pots with bulbs. This means that the containers change from the winter into spring, with early-flowering miniature bulbs like Iris reticulata, Scillas, Chionodoxa and crocuses.

Skimmia ‘Magic Marlot’ with crocuses out

This year’s gate trough planting

But in my large blue pot, I plant bulbs in layers. I choose Narcissi and tulips which will flower at the same time, and at the same height – in the top, I plant some small bulbs. It gives me a lot of pleasure in the spring!

I hope I’ve given you an insight into how I plant for autumn colour – which moves through the winter and into the spring.

Spring 2009

Spring 2010

Happy planting!

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Comments

 

Wow, is all I can say. I really have trouble making attractive pot plantings, so I avoid doing them...which means I never improve. But now I'm inspired to do some autumn plantings!

9 Nov, 2010

 

Beautiful Barbara. I love the Skimmia and the white Crocuses and the Tulips are so nice. You work very hard in your garden with such wonderful results.

9 Nov, 2010

 

Spritz, I just love your blogs. They are always so full of helpful information and fantastic photography. This is one of my favourites, has alread inspired me - especially those beautiful pots of tulips etc. Am def going to have a go at that. And if that's you being potty, then carry on the good work!

9 Nov, 2010

 

Loads of great tips there, Spritz. I especially like the ideas about planting bulbs for spring colour.....they look so cheerful, I can see how they would delight you after the long winter months.

So good of you to share your methods with us. Thanks! I have one container planted with various bulbs but I've not planted anything on the top and I've got 2 empty pots that I haven't planted up yet. Do you think I've left it too late for a show this spring?

9 Nov, 2010

 

Don't know about you being potty Spritz, but you really have an artists eye. These are lovely and this blog is going into my favourites for reference purposes. I layered bulbs in tubs for the first time and am looking forward to seeing what happens with them in the spring. Hope mine look something like yours. :))

9 Nov, 2010

 

I would take a look at your local GC Whiston. If they're selling them just now you should be ok to plant up some things in tubs. Spritz would know for sure though. Some of my neighbours have taken to putting in plastic flowers. Visually they do the trick and, for some reason, the neds aren't interested in them so far. :))

9 Nov, 2010

 

I will take a look at the GC as you suggest, SBell. Perhaps in the morning there will be a reply from Spritz as well. I'm not very organized this year but planning things to be better next year!

10 Nov, 2010

 

Beautiful Spritz, but then we wouldn't expect it any other way! Lol.

You have such a way with flowers and planting schemes that you make "experts" blush. ;~))

10 Nov, 2010

 

Fantastic photos and absolutely gorgeous pots Spritz. You do have an eye for colour and great combinations. :o)

10 Nov, 2010

 

I can't say which I like most as they're all so nice. Your pots themselves are interesting too. You must have a lot of watering to do. Most of us like pots but I recon you're the 'pottiest' do you give 'potty training'? ;)) You obviously have somewhere to put plants out of the way for use the following year. I call mine the 'spares depot' As for re-filling the pots, I use plastic tubs that neatly fit inside so it's quick n' easy to swap. also it helps with potential frost problems. I like your Skimmias, the name too ‘Magic Marlot’, sounds a bit like my favourite tipple!

10 Nov, 2010

 

lovely Spritz-- puts my pots of violas to shame...

10 Nov, 2010

 

Spritzhenry your pot's allways look lovely, I will favourite this blog as it is full of great information and good ideas. I like the Skimmia,but I still have not managed to get any yet but I will.

10 Nov, 2010

 

Beautiful plantings in those pots ... love the Tulips in the last pic ... when their leaves begin to wither do you remove the Tulips straight away? I leave my Tulips in the ground & have not tried them in pots ... your photo has given me ideas now! My new plants for pots this year are Osmanthus, Heathers, Ivies, Violas & Pansies ... here's hoping they thrive.

10 Nov, 2010

 

I'm so glad you don't mind my being potty! I'm also pleased that the blog was helpful.:-))

Oh Laura - do have a go! :-))

Heron - yes, I do that for a few pots, but the larger ones get refreshed completely. I'm not sure that with the bigger ones I could find the right sized plastic pots!!! Watering is only hard work in the summer months.
Then it takes around an hour a time to do it.

Whistonlass - you should be able to find tulips to plant, as they are often planted later than other bulbs anyway. It isn't too late at all.

Mavis - thank you. Skimmias should be in the GCs at the moment. 'Magic Marlot' will probably be expensive, but if you look after it, it's worth the money as it pays for itself when it gives pleasure year after year.

I have to choose early-flowering bulbs because I have to get the summer displays going before I open the garden in early June - so out come all the bulbs, into a storage area, to let the leaves die back. They don't get wasted, they get passed on to a friend, or via freecycle.

10 Nov, 2010

 

You have plenty of interest in your pots Barbara, and they brighten up the winter (and summer too lol)
I usually do the same, but must say I haven't done it this year :o(

I do like that Photinia Little Red Robbin, but I can never keep it. I've tried 3 times and it had died every time. Maybe I'll give it one more try. It's such a lovely little shrub for a pot, and looks very nice with your pansies

10 Nov, 2010

 

rmmmm got me thinking now spriz have to go see wot i can do wth mine now lol !!! all yours are stuning .

10 Nov, 2010

 

What can i say as your blogs and photos are always great, as for this one i've added to favourites as it as so many interesting ideas, thanks alot for sharing...

10 Nov, 2010

 

Hywel - that's a shame, as it's a lovely little shrub. I have one in a bed and one in a pot, both seem happy.

Thanks, Cristina. Good luck - it's worth planting up at least one for your own pleasure over the winter and into spring.

Carol - that's very kind. I'm glad you found it so helpful. :-))

10 Nov, 2010

 

what a lovely, helpful blog ~ thankyou!
i didnt know about lamium but will look out for it now, that white cyclamen is stunning and i really like the different textures you used, including the grasses; some lovely colour combinations ~ i shall remember not only your beautiful pictures but also to pack the pots full! [with pansies anyway]
thanks again

10 Nov, 2010

amy
Amy
 

I must admit I'm like you Barbara every plant gets used and reused as much as possible in pots from one year to the next .. all your pots look stunning going through from winter to spring / summer ... now that I have my Little Red Robin i'm wondering if it's possible to take cuttings from it or do you think it would revert back ? :o)

10 Nov, 2010

 

I don't know what to say Spritz, everything's been said. Absolutely fantastic and as always you are never one to hold back information, you help so many people with your knowledge and blogs.

10 Nov, 2010

 

What a lovely blog Barbara, not only so colourful and interesting but very informative too. It's definitely going in my favourites too. I bought a 'Little Red Robin' last year and it's planted in a raised bed , maybe I'll get another for use in pots, yours looks so good with those pansies. You've certainly given us lots of inspiration, thank you. :o))

10 Nov, 2010

 

Hi Spritz

You really are a busy person but what a reward - your tubs look lovely. I especially like the Skimmia Magic Marlot and have put this on my list of "plants wanted" which I always carry with me when I go to a garden centre so that I know what to look for.

Keep up the good work.

10 Nov, 2010

 

Thanks, all...it's lovely to hear that this blog has helped you. You've all said such lovely things!

I love 'Magic Marlot', I admit it. :-)))

Thanks, Lily.

Amy - you're so good at taking cuttings, go for it! I can't see why it would revert from a cutting, as that's a 'clone' isn't it.

10 Nov, 2010

 

Realy beautiful planting Spritz that should surely take you through the winter and into spring, giving you lots colour.

10 Nov, 2010

 

what a lovely blog Spritz. Like you I love pots. OH asked what I would like for 'you know what' and said I could have what ever I wanted but 'not more B***dy pots for the garden'. So I think I will ask for some obelisk type things. :o) what do you think?

10 Nov, 2010

 

I hope so, Stroller! Thanks.

Sbg - go on a 'mission' and see what there is around! You might get some inspiration - I hope. :-0)

Glad you enjoyed the blog...........

10 Nov, 2010

 

Such a great selection of pots Barbara, with really pretty plantings. Love the white crocuses with the Skimmia, but all are beautiful....:o))

10 Nov, 2010

 

Thanks, Janey. :-))))))

10 Nov, 2010

 

Lovely blog, Spritz! I really enjoyed looking at your pots I just wish I had room on my balcony for bigger pots then I could do like you do! Most of my pots are just 5" or 6" though there are a few bigger ones.

I have three conifers, two of which are in big square plastic pots. They are the same ones as the little golden conifer you have in pic 16! These I've had since they were little "babies" now they are taller than me! A few years ago I cut off all the lower branches to leave a "mop head" but as I never cut them again they have reverted back to their original shape. I planted bulbs & other small plants around the base of the trunks but this year I had to leave out the plants as the conifers just dry out the pots so much. Instead I put Busy Lizzies in 5" pots in saucers on the soil of the pots. They flowered very well all summer. The pots looked much better as well!

10 Nov, 2010

 

Sounds like a good solution, Balcony. Good thinking!

Do you manage to get any flowering plants on your balcony in the colder months? I think it helps to lift the spirits to see colour. No - not 'think' - 'know'. :-))

10 Nov, 2010

 

I usually have Pansies or Violas or perhaps a few Cyclamen till the Crocuses below them open. As I have so little space I have to underplant most pots with bulbs, spring or summer. Some of the summer ones even stay in the pots during the winter! I've had Begonias return for 3 years without being lifted! I have white Gladioli that have lived in the same pots for I don't know how many years & they return faithfully every year!

10 Nov, 2010

 

That's one advantage of a sheltered area, then. At least there 'is' an advantage! :-))

10 Nov, 2010

 

A lovely collection of pots Barbara and love your planting schemes, I like to use Violas and Bellis Daisies too and also underplant with Tulips and Daffs, it gives you something to look forward to at the end of the winter;0)

11 Nov, 2010

 

I was telling you about the golden conifers in big pots on my balcony yesterday, Spritz. Well this afternoon with this strong wind we are having it blew my biggest one over! :o This has never happened before, I haven't moved it in years from the position it occupies & the pot felt very heavy. I watered it a couple of days ago & it probably got some water from the heavy rain we had for a while this afternoon. I've now moved all 3 into the small space between the greenhouse & the door that opens onto the balcony. The wind shouldn't be able to blow them over any more.

11 Nov, 2010

 

The wind is really howling here tonight too, Balcony. I hope things in pots survive in my back garden...it's too dark out there to see tonight....I'll have to check tomorrow. Hope your conifers are save in their new position!

11 Nov, 2010

 

Oh, so do I! It's been dreadful here, too. The wind is still screaming round the house. I just hope the poor old Ash tree survives unscathed.

Thanks, Pp. It really does help to have bulbs in the pots, doesn't it. Lovely when you see little green spikes appearing!

11 Nov, 2010

 

U always put together such wondeful displays Spritz :) This blog is so lovely with all your Containers Beautiful Photos :) Hope H is well my friend luv 2uboth XXX

12 Nov, 2010

 

Hi Jac - thank you. Glad you enjoyed them! xx

He doesn't seem to mind the gales, it's only thunder that upsets him. I was getting a bit worried, though - but the ash tree came through it OK, thank goodness. :-))

12 Nov, 2010

 

My 3 conifers look none the worse for the heavy winds, even the big one that the wind blew over looks to be alright! :-)) This afternoon I moved them back to their original positions against the balcony railings.

13 Nov, 2010

 

Oh, that's good. The ash tree came through it, too, it just shed a few dead twigs, which is normal.

13 Nov, 2010

 

Pleased for you both (Balcony & Spritz) that you haven't had losses/damages. Hardy conifers you have there, Balcony! And only twigs down for you, Spritz. The winds have finally died down here but it's still raining pretty heavily.

13 Nov, 2010

 

Thanks, Whl. It's been dry-ish here today, and sooooo much calmer! I think there might be more to come, though. :-((

13 Nov, 2010

 

Here it's been a similar day.

14 Nov, 2010

 

It drizzled all day today - what happened to the forecast of a sunny day??

14 Nov, 2010

 

Only 24!!!
I tend to rely on pot growing, as I'm drawn to the tender plants. This is where my pots are so invaluable to me.
I also grow perennials that I'm unsure about in pots for a season first, just to make sure that they're like the photo!

15 Nov, 2010

 

No - I didn't add in 'those' kind of pots, or the boxes down the fence boundary, nor the large ones with permanent shrubs in them. Neither did I add up the number in the greenhouse/coldframe, or the 'parked' ones outside the greenhouse, Meanie! ;-)

I just did a quick check of the ones I replant for autumn/winter - a guesstimate, really.

15 Nov, 2010

 

Once again, inspirational Spritz:-) I've added it to my faves for reference. Thanks you potty lady:-))

15 Nov, 2010

 

Thank god for that Spritz - I thought you were "slacking" for a minute then!!!

15 Nov, 2010

 

Thank YOU, Ba! LOL. That's a lovely thing to say - not the potty bit, the first part! ;-)

Oh no, Meanie, that's not me. ;-) Sorry, but I do NOT intend to count every pot I have...LOL.

(I grow all my lilies in pots, too, by the way - and Acidanthera - and Begonias - and Zantedeschia - and a few Pelargoniums...and..and...and!!)

15 Nov, 2010

 

Talking of acidanthera, I tried them this year for the first time. Three flowers then frost, buds never opened....not impressed. Is it because I planted them this year, possibly too late, or do they not flower 'til late? Very attractive flower though:-)

15 Nov, 2010

 

They do flower late. Did you read the tip I picked up from a Nurseryman? He plants his in pots (so do I) and I'd had very few flowers before, and asked how he got so many. The answer? As soon as the leaves come through water and water. Lots of it.

Well - it worked! :-)))

15 Nov, 2010

 

I had loads of flowers on each stem, but unfortunately only a few opened before the frosts. They did get loads of water though as they were by my cannas which I watered just about every day as i read that in America they are almost swamp plants and I had planted them on top of a gentle rise. Do you think the buds will still open or is that it?

16 Nov, 2010

 

No, I'm afraid that's it. :-((((((((((((((((

When did you plant them - I think maybe in pots is the best option. I have given up on planting them in the soil, as they need lifting in the autumn.

16 Nov, 2010

 

Oh, I didn't know that either lol. Think I'll give them a miss in future:-)

16 Nov, 2010

 

I think they're tricky, to be honest. I decided to treat them as annuals, so I'll start afresh in the spring - maybe! ;-)

16 Nov, 2010

 

In my small garden, I feel whatever is there should earn its keep lol, not even sure about sweet peas now although they were lovely. Maybe just plant them in ground and let them scramble around:-)

16 Nov, 2010

 

Barbara just found this blog, very inspiring, gone on my favourites, unfortunately all our pots are full of tender plants (95 last count) which are living with us in the garden room, Although OH has planted up loads of tulips in pots this time (no room left in the garden lol)
I do love your use of colour form and texture, you could write a book on container gardens, just trying to figure my top three......no cannot do it, they are all wonderful.

16 Nov, 2010

 

your pots are lovely Especially the tulips, skimmia and pansies ! I'm inclined to quite a few potsmyself! I prefer pots of plants instead of heavy gardening!This year i was pleased with the results of my potted bulbs and had meant to do the same this year but have quite ran out of time. Not sure if too late for this week-end!

16 Nov, 2010

 

Dd - thank you so much for those kind words! :-)))) xx

Thank you too, Marydoll. I admit to enjoying putting plants together, and planning for the bulbs for the spring.

I think you should be able to find tulips for sale still - it's not too late to plant them. :-)

16 Nov, 2010

 

Thanks managed to get some tulips i've put in pots and just to finish off some mini daffs and a few hyacinths! Afraid that was my only prep for spring this year. Lifted a few geraniums to store. Think I might have bungled a few "corms" I ended up halving them anyway wasnt sure what they were! I always forget what I plant in my tubs!!

21 Nov, 2010

 

It's difficult, isn't it. I always 'mean' to keep a list, but do I? LOL.

21 Nov, 2010

 

Good to know i'm not the only one who 'means' to! lol

22 Nov, 2010

 

The only 'list' of which bulbs are where is on the order form - if I can decipher my scribbles down the side! LOL.

22 Nov, 2010

 

Hi spritzhenry i just love your winter containers. I have for some years now had my pots either side of my front door planted with various bulbs that flower in it at various times. I was wanting to give them a bit more in the winter. in your big blue pot you have a tree looking shrub is that a golden conifer that someone else mentioned? i wanted to get 2 one to put each side of my front door and needed the name pleas so that i can purchase them. I'm worried that they might be fast growing are they? I would love to get some ivy does it take over and can you leave it in for summer containers and baskets. Do you put any kind of feed in for the winter? I have bonemeal or potash or the slow release granules but i believe these need warmth for them to work. Sorry for all the questions i'm just so inspired but what yours look like that i want to have a good old go sprucing my containers up!

23 Nov, 2010

 

Thanks, Petitebabe - I'll try to answer all your questions.

The little conifer is a Cupressus - 'Gold....something' just to plant in my containers to give height - it's not a fast grower, as you can tell! I either use it in another container in the summer, or pop it in a plastic pot until I need it again. I'm not sure of its name, I'm afraid, but maybe someone else will know - but I've seen them in Garden Centres this autumn, so they're easy to find.

Ivy. Yes, I do leave it in for the whole year, but if it starts to take over, after a couple of years, possibly, I remove it.

No - no feed at all for autumn/winter containers, although a 'very little' bonemeal mixed in the compost under the bulbs will help them. You shouldn't feed plants in winter, as they could make too much young growth which gets frosted.

Is that all OK? I hope it helps. :-)))

23 Nov, 2010

 

Thanx very much off to the garden centre tommorow then for some cupressus! I asked at my garden centre what to use for winter bedding plants and they told me bonemeal. Don't want to frost my plants though especially where i live! Thanx very much for all the help it's my first time ever growing winter bedding plants going to attempt to get some pansies tommorow. I will write a blog soon when i have planted up!

23 Nov, 2010

 

Good luck - and don't feed them! Have fun with your planting. :-))

23 Nov, 2010

 

Think its goldcrest Spritz. They can be bought for as little as£2.50 when small,(just right for container) They can get quite large over many years, but I had a couple in pots for over 6 years. Unfotunately I let them dry out a couple of years ago:-( They are always golden Pbabe so worth having, I'm going to buy a couple more too:-)

24 Nov, 2010

 

Thanks, Ba, for coming to the rescue. I'm sure you're right. :-))))))))

24 Nov, 2010

 

\0/ Hello Spritz:-)

24 Nov, 2010

 

\./ Ba!

25 Nov, 2010

 

Ha Ha! You see, I hadn't forgotten it B...I had just 'missed' it somehow! This is fantastic. This is just what I was after, it really is inspiring. I am going to take out the two conifers from my big black pots at my garage door and move them to where I can see them better and plant them up. IN fact, as OH has gone to the golf course (e-hem!) I shall go right now to the GC and see what I can do. Hmmm...what to do with the conifers.....where can I stick em?...mmm, theres a few spaces in the fence I might be able to squeeze them in thereabouts!....right, off I go! bye for now! x

23 Feb, 2011

 

Hi Karen - better late than never! LOL. I'm glad it helped you. Have fun! :-)))

23 Feb, 2011

 

Lovely to see this again Spritz, some of your combinations are breathtaking, must have magic marlot:-)

25 Feb, 2011

 

Thanks for revisiting, Ba. Yes - get it - and keep it in a pot!

28 Feb, 2011

 

A neighbour of mine, feeling his age, has gravelled his front garden making 2 hexagonal beds, in the centre of both is Magic Marlot surrounded mainly by heucheras. They look very nice and have withstood the nasty winter, even the heucheras are still looking good. I have thought of doing mine, but i'm not really that keen on gravel. Maybe have a word with makeover Trev :-)

28 Feb, 2011

 

Wish my Heucheras did, Ba! Some of them at least will have to be replaced. :-( Maybe 'Magic Marlot' likes the gravel round it? I expect that's why it's thriving.

28 Feb, 2011

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