Autumn pots

by Adam Pasco

A wide variety of pots have graced my patio all summer, hosting a wide and varied range of plants.

Dwarf cyclamenA wide variety of pots have graced my patio all summer, hosting a wide and varied range of plants from agapanthus and phormium to miscanthus, eucomis, pelargoniums, and an assortment of colourful bedding - to name but a few.

I love growing things in pots. It's the nearest you can get to instant gardening, buying or growing a range of plants then immediately making them feel at home in a pot. They're versatile, too, and can be moved around as the mood takes you. It's rather like rearranging the furniture in your home, as pots can be moved from one place to another to create a fresh display.

It helps to have a few hardy shrubs in pots, things that play their part in displays throughout the year. Then add in the seasonal performers, like bulbs and bedding that might only look great for a few weeks or a couple of months. Move these to centre stage when they're at their best, but as they fade just move them backstage to die down gracefully.

With autumn now upon us my displays were in need of a boost, so this year I've invested in a few dwarf cyclamen. These are really indoor pot plants, but are quite at home in a patio pot for a couple of months. Now these are not hardy outdoor varieties, so could be killed off by cold and damp winter weather, but I'll leave them on display for as long as possible.

I've combined mine with a compact gaultheria with pure white berries, snipping away its green shoots to neaten up the display. All these plants are quite cheap to buy, so could be discarded at the end of the year. However, I rather like the challenge of keeping things going, so will take out the cyclamen and bring into a frost-free greenhouse to try and get them through winter unscathed. If I can prevent their tubers rotting and start them back into growth next summer they should flower again for me next autumn.

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Gardeners' World Web User 15/10/2007 at 12:56

I too love planting up pots and containers, I find it to be a quick, cheap way to have a change when you get itchy feet. They give instant impact if you have visitors coming and can really brighten up the outside of the house on a grey day. I have bought lots of cyclamen this year, the labels on them say hardy... living in North Yorkshire I'm not sure how this will pan out, I might follow Adam's idea and lift them and try to keep them going for next year... the challenge would be worth the effort I think if it works!

Gardeners' World Web User 16/10/2007 at 12:02

The dwarf cyclamen in my pot (illustrated) are varieties of Cyclamen persicum, that are similar to the indoor pot plant varieties. These would probably be killed off by a wet winter outside, unlike many of the hardy outdoor species such as Cyclamen coum and Cyclamen hederifolium, which can be grown outside all-year-round. Remember that it's often wet and waterlogged conditions that cause cyclamen tubers to rot, and not simply the cold.

Gardeners' World Web User 16/10/2007 at 16:37

Can any one tell me why arum and canna bulbs grow leaves but do not flower and how to remedy this please. I also have problems with daffodils and narcissi which only flower one year. Any advice would be appreciated.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/10/2007 at 22:39

When should I prune my climbing roses? The gardeners world front page says now is ok but others advise waiting till winter.

Gardeners' World Web User 19/10/2007 at 00:04

hi there,i dont think you are planting your bulbs deeper enough,they ave 2 be planted 3x the bulb size,hope you have a booming good christmas x

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