Posted: 27/11/2015 at 17:43
At a previous house I used to have antique chimney pots either side of the front door - a inexpensive winter planting which worked well was small-leaved trailing variegated ivies under-planted with several layers of sky-blue grape hyacinths.
The ivy looked elegant throughout the winter (at Christmas I'd hang little red glass balls etc among the ivy) and then, in early spring the grape hyacinths burst up like an amazing blue powder puff - these lasted for several years with minimum care. After the flowers were over I'd take the pots and put them in a quiet corner and give them a few feeds of tomato fertiliser then when the leaves died down I'd give the pots a small dose of Fish Blood and Bone and move them to a shady area where the ivies looked good with the ferns etc. I'd just make sure that the compost didn't dry out. They'd stay there until November when I'd tidy up the ivy with a pair of scissors and put the pots back in the chimneys.
In the summer there I'd chop and change the style of plantings - the usual pink pelargoniums and trailing lobelias some years, and other years an eruption of trailing nasturtiums tumbling down and falling in a flowery foam at the foot of the chimneys (that sounds like an attack of the Nigellissimas ).