As a lazy gardener, I'm only getting round to topping up my boxes and baskets for the winter
Finally, as temperatures drop, window boxes and outdoor planters are looking a little the worse for wear. It's a bit late to be tackling the winter window boxes, but alas, I'm always a last minute.com gardener!
I'm a lazy gardener so my window boxes have plenty of staple plants that give colour all year round, i.e. heathers, variagated ivy, silver plants and miniature Norway spruce. I know there are spring bulbs therein and already, polyanthus and primroses are making their presence felt (the seasons really are confused).
But the geraniums and petunias look sad and 'wirey' so it's time to replace. I love pansies, and there's just so many colours to mix and match. English ivy provides great greenery for hanging baskets, window boxes and standalone planters. It's really hardy and will survive the dry weeks of summer time, and frost, even snow.
Herbs such as lavender, sage, rosemary and even chives make great additions to window boxes. You can further pump up your colour for Spring time with violas, narcissus, tulips, winter primrose, wallflowers, and mini shrubs.
Great bargains to be had in hardware and garden stores with some offering three trays of bedding plants for €8
Be sure to mix a slow-release fertiliser in with the compost before you fill your winter containers. This will keep your flowers thriving after planting, feed them with fertiliser once or twice a week. And don't forget to keep deadheading plants, and to rotate the hanging baskets, as this ensures an equal amount of sunlight to all the plants.
Overwatering in winter is fatal, it causes root damage as the plants drown in soggy soil and water. If you see your plants affected by mildew or 'fuschia rust', take a sample to your local gardening centre and get the recommended treatment.
You shall reap what you sow, so get sowing and plant enough greenery and hardy plants to see you through the winter with bulbs ready to pop and take over when Spring strikes.