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Winter flowers?

Hi.

I am looking for something that will brighten the garden up in winter (and also provide some winter nectar).

Any ideas which kind of seeds I should be looking for.  How did your own winter flowering attempts go (it would be great if you could post photos).

In my initial search "pansies" seem to be coming up a lot.

For clarity I can plant in the garden, borders and also have a shallow rockery that needs desperately brightening up.

Thanks.

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,341
    I'm afraid sowing seed just now won't create winter flowers for this winter.
    You can buy ready planted bulbs etc for sticking into pots for some late winter colour, or you might get cyclamen , but not all of the latter are outdoor hardy plants, so you'd need to be sure of what you're buying.

    Can you load some photos of the area you want to plant up, and info about the site - aspect , climate, other surrounding planting/fences/buildings  etc. 
    That will enable us to offer viable suggestions  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Fairygirl said:
    I'm afraid sowing seed just now won't create winter flowers for this winter.
    You can buy ready planted bulbs etc for sticking into pots for some late winter colour, or you might get cyclamen , but not all of the latter are outdoor hardy plants, so you'd need to be sure of what you're buying.

    Can you load some photos of the area you want to plant up, and info about the site - aspect , climate, other surrounding planting/fences/buildings  etc. 
    That will enable us to offer viable suggestions  :)

    Climate is temperate, wet, not much sun (England). Snow is quite "rare" (usually a day here and there around Januray time).
    Rockery is facing West with no shade (other than the usual clouds).
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 41,341
    This is a good supplier of alpines etc, which will suit a rockery - assuming it is a rockery, and not just a border with a collection of rocks  ;)

    https://www.craigiehallnursery.co.uk/ourshop/
    Lots of other plants can suit rockeries too, but your soil type will be a factor, as well as the size of the site. 

    As to other areas, there are hundreds of plants, although not so many for the middle of winter, so you'd really need to narrow it down, as to your conditions, and the kind of plants you're wanting to put in. Shrubs?  Perennials? Trees? The type of soil you have is also a factor, because some will need alkaline, some may need acid, and some may not be fussy. Daphnes are good for winter if you have suitable conditions, Sarcococca is winter flowering, and things like Hamamaelis [Witch hazel] might suit if you have room
    https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/popular/witch-hazel/growing-guide
    Cotoneasters have berries, if the birds don't eat them all by mid November, so they can be useful, as can other berrying shrubs and trees - Mahonia, Rowan and Berberis etc.
    Some winter flowering clematis might suit. Look at specialist sites like Taylors, Thorncroft, Peter Beales etc.
     
    Most bulbs will be fine potted up in most areas of the UK without any problem. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • FireFire LondonPosts: 11,581
    Pansies are no good for wild life. I would investigate some snowdrop bulbs and hellebore plants. Putting in cyclamen plants now might help a little - bedding types will offer colour, hederifolia are hardy.
  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 1,022
    Just want to say @Fairygirl that I always read your responses with interest.  You give a lot of really good advice.  And you are no slouch either @Fire.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 8,199
    Winter flowering heathers?
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,011
    Hi.

    I am looking for something that will brighten the garden up in winter (and also provide some winter nectar).

    Any ideas which kind of seeds I should be looking for.  How did your own winter flowering attempts go (it would be great if you could post photos).

    In my initial search "pansies" seem to be coming up a lot.

    For clarity I can plant in the garden, borders and also have a shallow rockery that needs desperately brightening up.

    Thanks.
    Pansies aren't much good for nectar, though some of the wild violas are. 

    I think you could look at some herbaceous perennials, those that have a long flowering season which go on producing flowers until the first frosts, maybe some of the guaras and that old favourite Verbena bonariensis which I've known to flower in December. Not the bleak mid winter you're hoping to find flowers for though.  Nothing much really flowers in the coldest, frostiest,  snowy times.

    A plant I really value is Teucrium fruticans.  It's not well known and needs light soil. It flowers in almost every month.  Bumblebees come to mine in January on mild days. It's a grey shrub with blue/light purple flowers and I grow it in my 'Mediterranean' bed which is a well drained special bed I've made in my Sussex garden.  Look it up; it may be just what you're looking for.


    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 4,369
    I agree great advice from @Fairygirl, I can second Sarcococca, the flowers are tiny but the scent is fantastic and the insects will find them. 
    AB Still learning

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,881
    I second Teucrium fruticans, but only for light sandy well-drained soil. It really doesn't like richer heavier stuff or having its feet wet.
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