Alan Titchmarsh shares how to create a winter border for ‘year round colour’

Alan Titchmarsh gives advice for people with small gardens

Alan Titchmarsh is a gardening expert who has provided Britons with many tips for every season. So it’s no surprise that the expert has shared how green-thumbed Britons can get their gardens looking colourful and tidy in the winter months. Alan explained in a video for Waitrose & Partners, how to create a winter display using a five metre by three metre border bed.

He said: “When autumn takes hold it’s easy to think it’s all over for the garden but that’s not the case.

“With the right plants, you can make sure you have a colourful winter that will last right through until spring – and even give you a brighter Christmas.”

Alan explained it’s even more important to prepare the soil in winter.

For those looking to prepare their soil, he said to work in manure and compost into the top nine inches of soil in the flower bed.

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“Structure, texture, colour and scent” are Alan’s four key points to look out for when planning a border.

Alan said to put the larger plants in first to give the border “structure”.

“I’m working on the basis of triangles and pyramids – they always look good.”

For the “apex” of his triangle, Alan used Silver margined Holly.

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He said this particular tree offers “year round colour” and is “wonderful through the winter”.

He also planted Witch Hazel which he said may not “look like much now” but will look “fabulous in a few months”.

The gardening expert also planted Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and Calicarpa ‘Profusion’ just below the Holly.

He then planted smaller plants at the front of the flower bed to “add texture”.

“Placing plants is all about looking for things which contrast with one another and which compliment one another,” he explained.

The third area gardeners should concentrate on for a winter border is colour.

“In winter, colour is less about flowers and more about, in autumn, the reddening leaves before they fall, but in winter stems and fruits.”

Alan recommended a Spindle tree which has “astonishing, shocking pink seed cases” which have bright orange berries inside them.

“Nothing is more jolly than that”, he said.

He continued: “The colder weather doesn’t mean you’re restricted to autumnal colours.

“I’m including the vibrant colours of Liriope (big blue lily-turf) and the bright whites of Cyclamen (Sowbread) to give my winter border real impact.”

Although many people usually think of spring and summer as seasons full of floral scents, Alan said winter can be full of scents too if you choose the right plants.

He used the ‘Christmas box’ otherwise known as Sarcoccoca, Witch Hazel and a Mahonia.

“As soon as the sun comes out, up comes the scent.”

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