Pittosporum, skimmia, carex pot display

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is at its best in January

Plant is at its best in February

Plant is at its best in March

Plant is at its best in April

Plant is at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is at its best in October

Plant is at its best in November

Plant is at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

The evergreen foliage of the skimmia, pittosporum and ivy set against a backdrop of carex, provide year-round interest in this elegant container display. Red tulips add a splash of colour in spring, while skimmia berries provide autumn and winter interest.

The addition of the bird feeders adds wildlife value to the pot display. Choose bright red feeders, to match the colour of the tulips and skimmia berries, or opt for a different, contrasting colour. Keep feeders topped up in winter to ensure birds don’t waste energy travelling to them.

You will need

  • Pittosporum tenuifolium x1
  • Skimmia japonica subsp. reevesiana x1
  • Ivy Hedera helix ‘Glacier’ x1
  • Carex buchananii x1
  • Tulipa ‘Red riding Hood’ x 10
  • Square planter, roughly 45cm
  • Round cup bird feeders
  • Multi-purpose compost, slow-release fertiliser
  • Crocks or polystyrene pieces

Total time:

Step 1

Place the pot in its final sheltered position then add polystyrene or crocks to improve drainage.


Step 2

Fill the pot two-thirds full with multi-purpose compost and mix in some slow-release fertiliser granules.


Step 3

Gently tease out the pittosporum’s roots and place the rootball in the centre of the container, ensuring the base of the stem sits just below the top of the pot. Add more compost around the roots.


Step 4

Tease out the roots of the carex, skimmia and ivy, and plant them around the pittosporum. Carefully fill any air pockets around the plants with compost and firm down well.


Step 5

Plant tulip bulbs in the loose compost between plants, ensuring you have an even spread. Aim to plant them 10cm deep and just a few centimetres apart.


Step 6

Push three bird feeders firmly into the compost around the base of the pittosporum and fill them with sunflower seed. Water in the new plants thoroughly.


Kevin Smith says…

Use a permanent central plant to give a container year-round structure. The plants around it can be changed as the seasons progress to create an entirely new look. Evergreen shrubs or topiary work best.

Kevin Smith