Create a Winter Flower and Foliage Basket

Use beautiful leafy plants to create a display that will last all winter.

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Growing Flowers For a Container Winter GardenEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

The height in this basket is provided by the Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata Sundance), which forms the centerpiece. Its new foliage is bright yellow, compensating for the lack of flowers — it rarely blooms. The yellow contrasts with the dark green leaves ofthe spreading checkerberry or wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), which release a strong scent when crushed. The checkerberry has small white or pink summer flowers, followed by bright red fruits that last through the winter. Additional color comes from the violas, the white-centered yellow leaves of the Lamium maculatum 'Aureum', and the dark-leaved dangling growth of the ivy (Hedera helix).

Materials Needed:

  • 4 x Lamium maculatum 'Aureum' or Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold'
  • 3 x Viola (yellow)
  • 2 x Hedera helix (dark-leaved)
  • 1 x Choisya ternata Sundance
  • 3 x Gaultheria procumbens

Planting and aftercare

Container basics:
Size 14-in- (35-cm-) diameter hanging basket
Suits Formal or informal gardens
Potting mix Multipurpose potting mix
Site Dappled shade

Deadhead the violas to promote a long-lasting display and a sharp contrast with the dark green ivy leaves. Tweak out the stems of the gaultheria so that the red berries can be clearly seen.
Eventually, the Mexican orange blossom will need more space. Although it can be planted out in the garden, it is probably better to discard it in favor of C. ternata, which has a ravishing scent and is a better garden plant. The lamium can alsogo into the border, where it makes excellent ground cover.

Plant Specifics

Lamium maculatum 'Aureum' (Image 1)
Fully hardy plants, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Partial or dappled shade, Full shade

Viola (yellow) (Image 2)
Fully hardy plants, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade

Hedera helix (dark-leaved) (Image 3)
Fully hardy plants, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade

Choisya ternata Sundance (Image 1)
Fully hardy plants, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade

Gaultheria procumbens (Image 2)
Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites, Moist soil, Partial or dappled shade

Alternative plant idea:
Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold' (Image 3)
Fully hardy plants, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Partial or dappled shade, Full sun

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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