Garden Advice from The Mains of Drum Plant Expert Dr Jane Bingham

Plants for Autumn Pots at The Mains of Drum

A beautiful pot or window box packed with colourful plants is perfect for brightening up your days in autumn and winter. Take your pick from our lovely selection of bedding plant packs and small potted plants here at The Mains of Drum. Many are evergreen providing colour and interest all year round. 

Plant taller plants, like the lime-green, feathery conifer ‘Wilma’, as a centre piece surrounded by smaller shrubby plants, like heathers, Gaultheria, Pernettya, or small ferns. Mix in a few pretty bedding plants and trail Ivy (Hedera) over the sides. For an extra lift in spring pop in some small bulbs such as Snowdrops, Winter aconites, dwarf Narcissi, Crocus, Anemone blanda or Muscari.

Bedding plants

Pansies and violas should flower their socks off from now until spring.

Primroses and polyanthus start flowering in midwinter and last well into spring.

Forget-me-not (Myosotis) flowers for a long period from early spring and looks lovely with daffodils and other spring bulbs.

Wallflowers flower in late spring and associate well with tulips.

Tips for pots

A large pot approx. 18-24” diameter will fit 10-15 small plants.

Use multi-purpose or tub and basket potting compost.

Use ericaceous compost for acid-loving plants like heathers, Rhododendrons and Azaleas, Pieris, Skimmia, Gaultheria and Pernettya.

John Innes composts are a heavier loam-based mix and are a good choice for plastic or top-heavy pots, and permanent plantings of trees or shrubs.

Make sure that your pot drains freely, as wet soil, especially in winter, kills plants. On the other hand, remember to water your pots during dry spells.

Dead-head flowers to prolong your display.

Protecting plants over winter

When the sun shines make time to simply look around you and enjoy all those glorious vibrant and fiery autumn colours. Be prepared though, winter is coming…

    Winter comes early to the North-east and soon it will be time to wrap up and batten down the hatches. Vulnerable plants need to be protected from freezing temperatures, heavy falls of rain and snow, and from the icy winds and blizzards that blast through our gardens. Here are some tips:

    - Move less hardy plants, like Standard Fuschias, Penstemons, Salvias, Lavenders and Bay trees into an unheated greenhouse, or into a sheltered porch, if possible.

    - Outdoors, plants in pots are completely exposed to winter conditions. Gather them together in a sheltered spot beside a house wall. Wrap prized pots with bubble wrap or thick hessian to protect both the pot and the plant’s roots from frost.

    -Wet soil kills plants, so it is vital that excess water drains away freely. With pots make sure drainage holes are not blocked and raise pots up on to ‘pot feet’, especially if they are stood on a hard surface, like concrete.

    -Shorten long branches of Buddleja, Cotoneasters and roses or tie in to reduce wind damage.

    - Protect newly planted evergreen hedges from icy blasts using windbreaks made of fine mesh attached to fence posts and place windbreaks around newly planted and treasured conifers.

Enjoy your autumn garden.
Dr Jane Bingham

26 September 2016