Winter Glow Container Arrangement

Fill a planter with a beautiful arrangement that will keep its color all winter long.

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Winter Patio ContainerEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

The yew (Taxus baccata 'Semperaurea') provides the highlight, making broad, bushy growth that holds on to its golden yellow color even in winter, provided it is given full sun. Expect an ultimate height of 30 in (75 cm); even though it can be cut back, its tendency to spread means it will eventually need a larger space. The thyme, which reaches 10 in (25 cm) high by 10 in (25 cm) wide, echoes the golden tints, while the ivy (Hedera) obscures the edge of the planter.

Materials Needed:

  • 2 x variegated ivy (Hedera)
  • 3 x orange pansies (Viola)
  • 3 x Thymus pulegioides 'Archer’s Gold'
  • 1 x Taxus baccata 'Semperaurea' or Rosmarinus officinalis 'Miss Jessopp's Upright'
  • 2 x orange and purple violas (Viola)

Planting and Aftercare

Container basics:
Size 24 x 12 in (60 x 30 cm), 9-in- (23-cm) tall wooden planter
Suits Informal winter patio
Potting mix Multipurpose potting mix
Site Full sun

Keep snipping back any straggly stems of yew to keep it dense and shapely, and to ensure that it doesn’t obscure the other plants at the base. The ivy needs plenty of light, as does the thyme, which can be regularly snipped back and used for cooking. Deadhead the pansies and violas to encourage further flowering.

When the yew becomes too big, either replace it with a young version, grown from a cutting, or with the likes of Rosmarinus officinalis 'Miss Jessopp's Upright', a compact rosemary with a strong, upright shape, which grows slowly to achieve its ultimate height and spread of 4 ft (1.2 m).

Plant Specifics

Hedera (variegated) (Image 1)
Fully hardy plants, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade

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

Thymus pulegioides 'Archer's Gold' (Image 3)
Fully hardy plants, Well-drained soil, Full sun

Taxus baccata 'Semperaurea' (Image 1)
Fully hardy plants, Well-drained soil, Full sun, Partial or dappled shade, Full shade

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

Alternative plant idea:
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Miss Jessopp's Upright' (Image 3)
Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites, Well-drained soil, Full sun

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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