Bee Palace

Colourful Winter Containers

November 17th, 2016


One of the most common questions asked of gardeners, garden designers and plantsmen and women is how to brighten up the garden in winter. Sure, it’s certainly not as easy as it is during the summer, but if you’re really savvy it’s entirely possible to create a single container that not only creates colourful interest through the darkest months, but is extremely pollinator-friendly as well.

As the nights are drawing in, and the trees are looking bare, we thought we’d share a planting scheme that ticks all the boxes for a colourful garden that’s as lovely to look at as it is supportive of our hard-working pollinating friends. And, best of all, it’s something you can do right now!


5 x Allium Allium Sphaerocephalon bulbs

1 x Lavender Lavandula ‘Hidcote’ (2l)

1 x Cyclamen Cyberia (Mixed)

1 x Heather Calluna Vulgaris (tricolour)

1 x 40cm pot

We’ve created a pot using one about 40cm diameter – obviously depending on the size and quantity of your plants, this can be altered. A few broken pieces of flower pot (crocks) or polystyrene in the bottom will help your pot to drain and not get waterlogged. Fill your container up until about 10cm below the top, place your bulbs (as shown), then cover with a thin layer of compost before positioning in your other plants. When you’re happy with their position (the bulbs should sit between the heather and lavender, not directly underneath) remove the pots, fill around the plants and give your pot a good drink. The gaps around the plants will quickly fill in, even in this cold weather.

Our plant choices of lavender, heather, cyclamen and alliums are all great plants for pollinators, and should create interest in your garden or patio from now until mid summer.

The heather and cyclamen create colour and interest now, with the alliums starting to peek through the soil in mid Spring, flowering around June and followed shortly after by the lavender. All of these are wonderful plants for bees and other hard-working pollinators.

The lavender in particular will need potting on after the summer, and its flowers cut back once they start to turn, but all these plants should keep flowering and keep attracting those vital insects to our gardens for years to come!


The same principle can be applied to lots of different kinds of plant combinations: here we have a beautiful Hellebore (Helleborus niger – A Christmas-flowering variety) underplanted with Winter Aconite (Eranthis Cilicica) and – to tide us over until they bloom in February – some pretty violas.

What are you planting in your gardens now? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll post some updates of how our pots are getting on in a few weeks.

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