My container tomatoes have blight, my summer bedding is bedraggled and all my pots are looking a bit forlorn – so there’s no better time to cheer myself up with some bright winter candidates.
Autumn and winter don’t have to be dull if you have a patio and some pots, because even a pot or two of dainty violas or a mixture of heathers and red-berried evergreens or coloured stems will perk up any outside space.
Autumn leaf colour can be spectacular if you plant one specimen Japanese maple in a pot, such as ‘Bloodgood’.
When the sun becomes lower in the sky, arrange your pots in the sunniest corners near windows, where they can be seen from indoors and will provide mutual protection when it’s really cold.
Plant containers in autumn with at least one long-lasting scheme, including such stalwarts as heuchera, ivy and skimmia.
Seasonal accent plants including heather and chrysanthemum can also be slipped into the display and removed, without disturbing the roots of the longer-lasting plants.
If you want burnt oranges in autumn, choose double daisy-shaped chrysanthemums in deep bronzes and yellows massed in glazed terracotta pots.
Further colour could be added with violas and variegated euonymus, such as E. fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’.
Thinking ahead, you could also plant some dwarf bulbs in your display including irises, fritillaries and ipheions in pots, using a gritty, free-draining bulb compost, to add a welcome splash of colour and herald the start of spring.