When winter hits and your garden looks like a white wasteland, you may want to consider planting some flowers that will bravely battle the elements. These will give your garden year-round color and interest.
Many of these plants are perennials and will come back year after year in your yard. Choose plants with a hardiness zone suitable for your area.
Calendula or pot marigolds are the perfect companion flowers for vegetable gardens, beds and borders, edgings, ground covers, mass plantings and planters. These brightly colored blooms also attract butterflies and bees to the garden.
They will thrive in well-drained, rich soil with occasional watering until established and will withstand dry periods after that. Alternatively, they can be grown in containers, where they will need a mulch to help keep the soil moist and weed-free.
The daisy-like flowering heads of calendulas are an eye-catching addition to cool winter landscapes. They are easy to grow from seed or from transplants, and can be planted along the edge of an herb or vegetable garden or in a flower border.
In addition to their bright color and cheerful appearance, calendulas are edible and can be used in many recipes. They have a slightly peppery taste and are great for preparing salads, soups and stews. They can also be dried and added to cakes, cookies, biscuits, rice and grains as a substitute for saffron.
The genus Scilla is a family of bulb-forming perennials. It is a popular plant for adding early spring color to the garden and for naturalizing in lawns or beds.
The best time to plant Scilla is between September and November in a location that will receive full sun and a little light shade. For optimum effect, plant bulbs in drifts of 20 to 50 each, or more if necessary for coverage.
Most Scilla species thrive in well-draining, average fertility soil. Some, like Scilla hyacinthoides, grow best in poorer soils and need very little water.
Scilla is an easy and versatile flower to grow. It does not require much care or attention, and it blooms very early in the spring. In addition, it is very hardy and will winter over well in most areas. It is also a good choice to plant along with other spring bulbs to create an attractive transition of color.
Cyclamens are a fantastic addition to any garden, especially in winter when they bloom. They are hardy, and will survive the worst of the cold.
They are also easy to grow. Generally, they like poor, well-drained soil in partial or full shade.
To get your plants flowering, sow seeds between February and September. They will need a rest period during the summer and should not be fertilised until they are in growth.
A regular application of a high-quality time-release plant food should keep them happy. If they seem to be putting on little or no new leaves, repot them.
They will thrive in a cool room that’s around 10-15degC. This could be a conservatory, porch or east- or north-facing windowsill.
Winter jasmine is one of the best choices for gardeners who want to enjoy a winter-hardy flower. It grows well in full sun but will tolerate some shade, and is also able to handle drought stress and mild frost.
It prefers a rich, well-drained soil that is not soggy or clay. A mix of equal parts potting soil, peat moss and sand works best.
Plant jasmine in a location that is sheltered from harsh afternoon sun but gets enough morning light to keep the leaves from turning yellow. The plant will also need a cool room with normal indoor temperatures during the day and lower nighttime temperatures to prevent overheating.
In the spring, prune to help conserve energy and to encourage new growth. Cut back side shoots above healthy buds and remove any deadwood or damaged stems.