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Go potty all year round; Keep the winter gloom at bay with a burst of bright container blooms.

If your summer containers are looking tired, make the most of autumn by giving your pots a fresh new look, inside and out.

If you only want to replace certain plants, dig them out carefully with a fork and replace the old compost with fresh, preferably a type that contains slow-release fertiliser and water-retaining gel.

Then you could fill in the gaps with seasonal colourful plants such as cyclamen, pansies, violas, dwarf marguerites and berried winter cherries.

The hardy pansies and violas should last right through autumn until the beginning of winter. All this could be complemented with evergreen foliage, spring-flowering hardy primroses, polyanthus and winter-flowering heathers.

Don't forget to add some bulbs for colour from winter to spring. The Reticulata iris flowers in late winter and early spring and goes well with white and yellow crocus chrysanthus cultivars.

Dwarf narcissi such as February gold and tete-a-tete brighten up spring planters as do snowdrops and grape hyacinth. Tulips will carry the flowering into late spring.

Pint-sized blue scilla siberica can be planted around the base of deciduous shrubs.

They also make good partners for dwarf daffodils and Wanda hybrid primroses.

Another great plant for autumn and winter pots is the skimmia japonica subspecies Reevesiana, which produces long-lasting clusters of bright red berries in winter, nestled among dark evergreen leaves.

This hard-working evergreen shrub goes on to produce deliciously fragrant white flowers in spring.

And it's not just about flowers, you can clean or repaint your ceramic pots or wooden containers. With a little imagination, you can be enjoying your containers well into autumn and beyond.

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VIOLAS... Pots of colour

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 23, 2014
Words:271
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