Winter colour in the garden


to brighten things up on dull days

[IMAGE-MISSING]Cyclamen hederifolium are one of the hardiest and easiest cyclamens to grow. They are the most reliably hardy of all the cyclamen species and easily survive low temperatures. They have been in cultivation at least as far back as the 16th Century – not surprising since one single tuber left in the ground can flower and last as long as 150 years!

They require well-drained soil and are unfussy as to whether they are placed in full sun or partial shade. Cyclamen in my opinion are best planted as naturally as possible in large reasonably sized areas under deciduous trees and shrubs where you can really appreciate their bold, yet delicate statement of colour at times when the garden is starting to look slightly bare. The other advantage is that they are kept well shaded during the hot summers and get the benefit of more sunlight as the trees/shrubs loose their leaves in autumn. They are prolific self-seeders. Try planting a mix of colours as it really does create a fantastic effect.

[IMAGE-MISSING]Other autumn performers include Schizostylis coccinea – the Kaffir Lily that loves a sunny, yet moist position, under a wall or at the front of a mixed border, which will help protect flowers from early frosts. Another is Tricyrtis formosana – the Toad Lily – with intriguing burgundy spotted pale-pink flowers prefers a more moist and shady site. Other attractive combinations at this time of year are the mix of the dark coloured asters or deep red flowered sedums and the golden leaves of the tree Robinia pseudoacacia “Frisia” or golden leaves of Cornus alba “aurea”.

[IMAGE-MISSING]Other considerations when designing your garden with some interest at this time of year are trees with interesting bark such as Betula utilis with its fantastic white bark, whilst Prunus serula and Acer griseum are also great for their peeling bark effects.

•With thanks to Miranda Bell

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