Choose your flowers:
- Sweet peas. Some flowers, such as the early-blooming sweet peas, are at their best in winter and, fortunately, sweet peas can be sown happily into pots. Choose a small-growing variety like Bijou (which gets up to 60cm) or the ultra-tiny Pixie Princess that only reaches 20cm. Bijou will look at its best if it’s trained onto a low tripod or climbing frame.
- Bulbs Spring bulbs like jonquils are readily available in April. Crowd the bulbs together in a shallow pot, then put it somewhere in the shade. Once the shoots appear, move the pot into more sun. Don’t forget, too, that bright green bulb shoots are irresistible to snails, so protect the new growth with a sprinkling of Blitzem Snail pellets. Feed the bulbs as they grow by regularly watering with Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. While this has been specially blended to promote blooming, it will also help keep the crowded bulbs healthy. Don’t forget, too, that the energy in the crowded bulbs will probably be completely spent after flowering, so it’s best to compost them rather than expecting them to survive for another year. But if you’re really keen you can try transplanting the bulb plants carefully into a garden bed, and continue feeding them until the leaves die down completely.
- Cyclamens (pictured) For frost-free areas or protected outdoor spots, cyclamens can provide colour for months. In cold climates, enjoy cyclamens indoors in a well-lit, cool position. Keep them out of heated rooms.
- Pansies are the perennial favourites for winter colour. It’s not surprising – they’re cold tolerant, they flower for months and they come in an amazing range of colours. Yates has three pansy varieties in its seed range: the extra-long-flowering Joker Mix. Super-large Giant and the exotic Black Knight, which is almost the closest thing you can get to a pure black flower.