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This could end in tiers.

Byline: With Diarmuid Gavin

Despite the fact we are about to get another onslaught of cold and wet weather, gardens have a remarkable capacity for recovery. So let's keep planning for our spring gardens.

An increasingly popular way of gardening is with pots and containers - they brighten up entrances to homes or allow for instant colour in important places such as patios or around garden features.

Rather than just arriving at the garden centre and making instant choices, why not plan for a wonderful combination of planting? If you decide on a theme your reward may be a beautifully co-ordinated display from spring into early summer. I take inspiration from Danish gardener Claus Dalby who produces the most magnificent, if labour intensive, displays of tiered pots outside his property.

He uses specially crafted benches and tables - replicating in effect the way a school photograph is taken, so you have layer upon layer increasing in height.

It's a bit like the way street florists display their cut flowers in tiered arrangements. You can achieve this informally with good judgment about different pot sizes ascending in height. Claus creates beautiful schemes, often just using one or two colours in different hues - for example, rows of pale cream tulips, white tulips and white daffodils, all to great effect.

Containers are an excellent way to capture the fleeting nature of some spring plants, especially tulips. Pots crammed with them can take centre stage outside your front door for the month they are at their best and then be discreetly removed while you allow their foliage to die back.

They can then be planted out in the garden or stored out of sight until next year. And waiting in the wings is your next batch of pots of colour.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your spring containers.

These are only a few of the endless possibilities, but don't be afraid to do your own thing and mix it all up in a Smartie-like confection of colours.

Or you may decide that less is more and open your spring season with a single large statement plant, for example, the miniature white flowering cherry tree, Kojo-no-mai, or a choice Japanese maple about to unfurl its elegant leaves.

WHITE & YELLOW This is a fresh and elegant combination - a classic Easter display. Create it using white and yellow daffodils, both miniature and regular sizes, along with yellow and white tulips. These are all available now in pots at garden centres.

White hellebores are also looking really good at the moment and will keep flowering well into May.

For smaller pots, you can use pristine white Bellis perennis and lots of primroses and polyanthus.

Pack them in for maximum impact.

Bellis Perennis YELLOW & BLUE These colours create a lovely contrast and there are plenty of plants in the spring palette to achieve a vibrant mix. Blues can be sourced from violas, brunnera, omphalodes, gentian, muscari and anemone. Pair with yellow wallflowers, Narcissus 'Tete a Tete' and primulas. Then pop in some herbs such as sage and rosemary for kitchen window boxes, in handy reach for cooking.

Rosemary PINK & PURPLE Bring warmth and cheer with pink and purple which complement each other beautifully.

In smaller spaces, use pretty little alpines such as Arabis and Dianthus. Contrast different pot sizes of pink and purple tulips.

Dicentra spectabilis is one my top spring plants and deserves a pot all of its own to admire its arching stems dripping with heart-shaped pink flowers.

Purple

CAPTION(S):

Bellis Perennis

Omphalodes

Rosemary

Primula

Bunnera

Purple Tulip

Alpines

Dicentra

White daffodils work well in a white and yellow colour scheme

Potty: Danish gardener Claus Dalby is a master of tiered colour, pictured below

Primrose

White Hellebore
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 31, 2018
Words:623
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