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Winter gardening - what to plant to get colour?

I love flowers but have very limited gardening knowledge beyond watching my dad as a child. I now live in Belgium, in a house with a small garden, domianted by a large magnolia tree. Was away for 3 weeks over christmas and have come back to find my Magnolia full of buds, and lavender (in a large pot) apparently growing ferociously! Given that there's been a lot of snow here, I wondered if this is this normal, or have I just got some particularly hardy varieties? Should I do anything to the lavender (pruned the dead wood in November) to ensure it will flourish this year?

The Magnolia is a mature tree, which has flowered twice each year since I moved here - around late march and mid-september. Everything else (in pots - fuchsia, roses, margarita daisies, azaleas) seems to have died, so I'd welcome suggestions for some colour to plant into terracotta pots- Cant wait for the autumn planted bulbs to surface! Thanks in anticipation



If you mean colour for NOW, maybe winter-flowering pansies, or Cyclamen? You could visit a local nursery or garden centre, and see what's currently in flower in your area.

8 Jan, 2011


You need to plant winter flowering pansies in the pots in September. When you plant your bulbs. Make sure your plants are in flower when they go in then you can guarantee flowering through the winter. If you plant smaller plants not yet in flower they will hold off until the spring to start giving you any flowers. Garden centres will have things like primulas in flower now, for use in the garden, but will be relatively expensive. Buy a couple of pots and when they finish flowering around June split them up to increase your stock and they will flower for years. No need to prune your Lavendar again it should be fine. Your other plants are probably just dormant they too should be fine. The fuschias and margeurite daisies may have died if they are not hardy ones. The fact that your magnolia dominates your small garden may well be providing a canopy of warmer air over your pots.

8 Jan, 2011


Thanks so much - Perfect! I'm going to the garden centre tomorrow with the latin names - I havent mastered flemish names for plants yet!

8 Jan, 2011

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