We may not be out of the woods when it comes to frosts, yet on a warm clear day, it does feel as though spring is in the air. If you’re impatient for your bulbs to appear, using container plants to showcase seasonal gems is a great way of injecting a little early colour into the garden.
Garden centres are beginning to stock bulbs such as crocus varieties, muscari and lovely delicate Fritillaria meleagris. Primulas such as polyanthus and more subtle native Primula vulgaris in pots as well as alpines such as saxifrage will bring colour right up to the door.
When it comes to design, try to harmonise colours such as pinks, purples and blues or limit yourself to three colours such as blues, purples and pops of yellow such as Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ for spring lift and contrast. Foliage plants are important, bergenia are useful for both foliage and flowers at this time of year and ferns are lovely with bulbs. Or consider camelias with their evergreen waxy leaves and flamboyant flowers in whites, pinks or reds -wonderful for pots in a sheltered, part shade position, planted in ericaceous compost.
This is also a good time to look at how the pots themselves are working together. Terracotta pots are classic, but you might want to add some patterned, textured or coloured glazed pots. And play around with about how they’re arranged. Grouping a cluster together is more attractive than a line up, creating the effect of one large planting bed. This is also a better way of show-casing a mix of plants as, instead of mixing blooms within a pot, each container can have one variety and will last longer as a consequence. And above all, enjoy a bit of pot pottering!