Choose the right flower for winter

Winter is not a bad month to plant poppies, to help attract bees.

When temperatures start to drop, the growth slows down in flowers.

If one plants now, the young seedlings establish faster and one gets more colour through the winter.

Pansies and Primulas are a favourite in winter. Autumn is also nature’s time for sowing seeds; one can add to the colour by experimenting with all the indigenous seeds as well as fragrant Virginian stocks and water wise Bokbaaivygie.

Bedding plants need a lot less attention in winter, provided they get planted into soil that is well prepared. Compost is the basis of any good planting regime and should be added liberally. Compost improves the aeration of the soil, encourages earthworms and also helps retain moisture. This is important as one heads into the drier winter months.

Poppies are special plants as they attract bees to the garden. They need to be planted in as much sun as possible and kept slightly on the dry side through winter.

The first three buds need to be picked as they develop, to encourage stronger-stemmed flowers.

Pansies and Violas are the stalwart of the winter and spring garden flowering for months on end. When planted now, they will be in flower well into October and even early November, making them value for money.

Pansies want full sun to perform at their best during winter. When given too much shade, they produce fewer flowers through the coldest months and only provide a lot at the end of spring.

Violas look just like pansies but have a smaller flower. Primulas and primroses are good for shady garden beds or containers. The primulas are available in white and shades of purple and last for months in well prepared soil; it is especially important to prepare the soil well for them if planting them under trees.

They must be well watered and fed regularly. The white and lavender Primulas are the tallest growing of all the colours.White primulas grow taller. If the primulas get too much sun, they will still do well through the winter but will finish off in early August. If they are planted in shade they can be in flower until the end of October.

Choosing winter bedding plants gives one more to choose from and there are more colours and mixes.r Information courtesy of Eckards Garden Pavilion.

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