Posted: 10/11/2016 at 15:16
Experiment a bit too Lisa. You get to know your own conditions that way.
I expect you'll get a fair bit of cold wind there, so try and keep them sheltered from that. If there's a very long, cold frosty period due, just group them together which will help prevent any root freezing. It's sometimes just a bit of trial and error. Any small plant is vulnerable during the worst of the winter weather, but it's surprising how well most of them cope. Waterlogged soil is always more of an issue than cold dry conditions, so it's easier when you have things in a pot because the moistness of the soil can be regulated. A little seedling or small plant exposed to cold rain and cold wet soil will struggle more than a little seedling kept on the drier side in a pot in a more sheltered position.I often stick small plants (shrubs or tough perennials) in amongst evergreens in a border to give them a bit of protection. That works well for me. Young seedlings are best in a frame, somewhere that you can easily keep an eye on them though.
I grow my sweet peas mainly in containers because the soil takes a long time to warm up in spring here, and I rarely sow in autumn. Direct sown seed in April catches up with anything overwintered because the plants often just 'sit' till it's warm enough for them to get going anyway. The ones in those pix are in large timber boxes with shrubs, so they were quite well fed and watered, but I also do them in decent sized pots with canes. I sometimes grow them just running through the border, letting them scramble among shrubs. Using good quality seed also helps, and the variety makes a difference too, and lots of deadheading through the main season