The only way to keep your home filled with colour is to plant some; May is far from boring on the patio and in the garden. This month’s garden tasks include covering your tender bits with frost cover, planting up a bowl of colour for the table indoors or outside and mulching the beds... outside with the fallen leaves. Plant something you love in the garden for foliage-colour now and it will reward you every year as winter sets in – Sacred Bamboo gets our vote.
The fancy-leaved cousins of cabbage make a bold statement in the cool season garden. They are edible but are bitter so one would not grow them to eat but they make great companion plants in mixed plantings and always draw attention. They were developed as a winter colour leaf by hybridizing cabbage and cauliflower and after years of development we get the range of colours we have today. They are extremely cold-tolerant and need full sun to light shade. The more sun and colder the more compact they will grow.
Colour does not only have to come from bedding plants in winter. The cold temperatures and frost colours a range of plants to striking shades of reds to burnt pinks. By far the most popular are the different varieties of Nandina which we believe no garden should be without. Also known as Sacred Bamboo they are incredibly versatile growing in sun and shade as well as making a striking container plant.
Nandina are evergreen and what makes them special is the colour they provide in the garden during all four seasons of the year. In the spring, the new foliage emerges as bright bronzed red and is soon followed by large panicles of creamy white flowers. Clusters of bright green berries replace the flowers and by late summer the berries will ripen to a bright red. The berries will remain until they are discovered and enjoyed by the local birds.
Protect with Frost Cover
We are a few weeks away from first frost but if you have a special plant you need to protect from frost we recommend that you cover from the first week of May. Even though traditionally our first heavy frost is expected in week three of May let's not forget about the odd year it arrives early.
Cover tender plants with frost guard which allows the plants to breath and also allows light in which means the plants can still grow inside the cover during winter. The best way is to make a tepee over the plant and then tie it down so that it does not blow off on a windy night.
Queen of Winter Colour
The classic Cyclamen is one of our all-time winter favourites for colour. Great indoors or outside on the patio or in the shade protected from frost they flower for months this time of the year. Their upside down flowers start right at the base and then stretch up like bird wings in shades of pink through purple. Keep them slightly on the dry side and feed every alternate watering with Multifeed Flowergro to promote even more flowers. Indoors they do best in a bright room but not too close to the window catching afternoon sun as they prefer to stay slightly cooler.