Monty Don shares how to keep flowers blooming during ‘cruellest month’ of the year

Gardeners’ World: Monty Don gives advice on planting for winter

With Britons spending more time at home, gardening has seen a surge in popularity. For those looking to get out in the garden and grow some flowers, Monty has explained how to keep flowers blooming throughout the winter months. He said: “I know that for some people February is the cruellest month of the lot.

“But as a gardener there are plants that you can plant now that will brighten the darkest winter’s day and these are the jewel-like little bulbs that are small but have really rich colours.

“You can put them in a window box or a roof garden or a balcony or outside in a tiny little yard and they will still perform.

“I’m going to start with an iris called harmony which is a lovely rich cobalt blue and it’s got an egg yolk yellow flare on its fall.

“The fall is the petal that drops down in all irises.

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“Now these irises need really good drainage so your compost needs to be right.”

Monty said used coir and bark-based compost mixed with a bit of perlite and leaf mould.

He put two scoops in a pot and mixed it with grit.

The gardening expert said you need “at least” a third of the volume with grit although he prefers to fill the pot with half and half.

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Monty urged Britons to plant the bulbs “pointing up” and about an inch apart in the pot.

He continued: “What I always do is make a ring right round the edge of the pot and then another ring in the gaps.”

He then covered the bulbs with a layer of “gritty compost” so they are fully covered.

Monty put another layer of grit on the top of the compost.

He said: “When you have these outside and they’re flowering in February if there is rain or if you water them.

“If you just have compost you can get splash and the petals can get stained with the compost.

“Whereas if you have the grit that doesn’t happen.

“The best place to put this [the plant] is outside exposed to the elements but covered by glass from rain because they like to be cold in winter but if they get too wet then they can rot.”

Monty also planted miniature daffodils in a variety called hawera.

The plant is multi-headed and blooms with primrose yellow flowers.

The gardening expert said you should “cram” bulbs in pots if you want a “really strong” display and then cover them with grit.

Monty said daffodils are “less sensitive” to wet than irises but they still need to be covered.

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