Tulip, pittosporum and skimmia pot display

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

one hour

At its best:

Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Cheer up a corner of your garden and treat the birds at the same time with this elegant container. Seed-filled feeders will attract the birds, while weatherproof foliage gives this container strong form and texture, with a smattering of red flowers and berries pulling the look together. 

The variegated pittosporum leaves look striking - and don't show up the inevitable bird mess. With cheery red tones from the tulips in spring, set against a mixture of textured foliage, this container can bring big impact into any small space.

You will need

Tulipa 'Red Riding Hood' x10

Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Silver Queen' x1

Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana x1

Hedera helix 'Glacier' x1

Carex buchananii x2

45cm square Fibreclay planter

Flowerbed cup feeders

Slow-release feed

Multi-purpose compost


Use pieces of polystyrene in the base of the planter to improve drainage, reduce the weight and save on compost. Break it up into chunks and layer across the bottom of the pot.

Fill the pot two-thirds full of multi-purpose compost and mix in some slow-release plant food. This will continue to feed the plants long after the composts's reserves of nutrients have run dry.

Tease out the pittosporum's roots to prevent them from spiralling. Plant in the container and fill compost around the rootball, ready to accommodate the smaller shrubs and grasses.

Plant the Carex, Skimmia and ivy around the pittosporum, teasing out their roots as you go. Carefully fill any air pockets around the plants with compost and firm down well.

Slot the tulip bulbs into the loose compost between the plants, ensuring an even spread. Aim to plant them around 10cm deep and just a few centimetres apart.

Push the three bird feeders firmly into the compost around the base of the pittosporum and fill with sunflower seed. Water in the new plants and place the pot in a sunny position.

Water as necessary, using the opportunity to wash any bird droppings down onto the compost.

Once the bulbs start to emerge, use a liquid feed every other week.


Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

How to make a nectar-rich container display

How to plant up a spring container

How to layer bulbs in a pot

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