By Bec Wenzel
Winter doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. It can make you glad rather than sad. I love sitting outside on a sunny winter weekend, enjoying a coffee. A lot of people think that all the gorgeous flowers come out in spring, and while it may be true that spring is the time for abundance and growth, we can’t forget the plants that flower in the winter months. For those of you who are new to gardening you may be surprised by just how many beautiful flowers bloom when we are at our coldest. Some of my favourite plants are winter bloomers.
If you are anything like me and are feeling the winter blues already (and believe me I know its only just the beginning of the season and it’s been so cold already) then the quickest and the easiest thing to do for your outdoor space to get it buzzing with a bit of colour is planting up some flower pots. The pots you plant out now should take you through to spring as well. You can also add some hanging baskets. Add some flowers to your vegetable garden or bulk up those garden beds.
Some great winter flowers include:
A popular little flower which brings joy with their happy faces. There is a huge amount of variety in colours. They make a big impact planted out in all one colour and look just as good in a mixed colour planting. Plant in sun or shade.
Similar to the pansy but a smaller, more petite flower, you can use the flowers in food preparation and as a garnish as well. They look great in mixed pots of flowers and hanging baskets
A bright yellow and orange flower, sure to add some happiness to the garden. Full sun to part shade. Looks great in pots and in mass plantings. Also an edible flower to use in the kitchen.
An amazing scent. I love flowers with beautiful smells and alyssum is one of the best. This flower is great in a mixed basket, planted between pavers or rocks or as a ground cover. Loves full sun or part shade but be careful not to over water. A prolific self seeder.
Stock always stands out for me simply because I love the scent. It is an upright plant and can have either single or double flowers, I prefer stock planted out in bulk groupings as you really get that gorgeous scent when planted like this. Can also be used in a cut flower arrangement.
Beautifully scented and also gorgeous looking flowers. Can grow up a trellis or vine. Are a long time favourite with many people.
There are two different types of primula. Primula obconica is the largest and makes a great centre piece in a large pot or perfect for the garden bed. Primula malacoides has dainty flowers in soft tones. Both will bloom for a long time.
Adds brightness with cosy bunches of bright flowers. Fills in spaces well. A great bedding plant. Long lasting. Plant in the shade if you want longevity throughout spring when it comes again.
A very long lasting flower which will flower long into the warmer months as well. They make a great statement planted in bulk. They look amazing as a border and can also be used for cut flowers.
Both the cascading variety and upright variety have their place. I am particularly in love with cascading lobelia. It looks stunning in a hanging basket. Upright lobelia makes a great border in the garden. Be careful not to over water.
The great thing about cyclamen is you can grow it indoors and out. Brighten up your home as well as your garden. They love the colder months and if they start to look a little sad inside, pop them outside for a while to get some of that cold air. You can buy beautiful big varieties which also make great gifts and also smaller varieties that look amazing in pots.
To help your flowers bloom all winter and well into spring, deadhead frequently. Just pick off the dead flowers whenever you get a spare moment. I find the best food for your flowers is dried blood. I’m also very fond of liquid fertilisers.
Throughout winter you will notice you need to water less. The soil doesn’t dry out as much so be very careful not to over water. Your pots may need more watering than your garden beds but if you over water the flowers may start to rot or you may find you start getting fungal problems such as mildew.
Its a great idea to get the kids involved and soak up some of that Vitamin D. They will love getting out in the garden and getting their hands dirty. Let them pick some flowers too and help you pot them up. The fresh air will help with those winter blues.