It is a great time of the year to up dress warmly and to visit your local plant nursery or garden center. All too often gardeners only purchase plants in summer and this results in beautiful summer gardens and rather drab winter gardens. For many winter is a time of plant skeletons as most plants have shed their leaves. The dullness of winter is not kind to our emotional well-being and we long after greener pastures and colourful kaleidoscopes of flowering plants.

With the current lockdown we are experiencing, now is a good time to visit local nurseries. It will not only benefit your garden, but your well-being as well in being outdoors and surrounded by plants.

Plant nurseries or garden centers have a lot to offer and show off this time of the year but unfortunately it is only seen by a very view as their customer numbers reduce as the temperatures drop.

Annual winter colour

I love annual winter colour in the garden as it stands in great contrast to its surroundings. The winter sun is not as hot and therefore the flowers’ colours do not fade as much, leaving you with a very vibrant display of colour. Winter annual plants love the cold weather conditions and will flourish in the colder months. Certain seeds and plant structures get stimulated to grow when temperatures drop in winter. The length of the days (hours of sunlight) also has a great effect on these winter performing plants.

Annual seedlings are available as young plants in seedling trays and are waiting to be transplanted into fertile garden soils. There is a wide range of winter annual plants to choose from, but common ones are Poppies, Pansies, Violas, Primulas, Calendulas and Dianthus … not to forget the beautiful and showy ornamental Kale.

There is a wide range of winter annual plants to choose from, but common ones are Poppies, Pansies, Violas, Primulas, Calendulas and Dianthus … not to forget the beautiful and showy ornamental Kale.

Alternatively, these special plants can be propagated by seed. Did you know that plant nurseries and garden centres rotate the seed packets according to the actual seasons – meaning that the seed packets for sale on the shelves will be ready for sowing at the specific time of purchase?

Flowering bulbs

Now is also the right time of the year to plant certain flowering bulbs. Good quality bulbs are packed in packets in different quantities. It is advisable to plant a whole packet together for maximum impact rather that planting individual flower bulbs all over the show. You will be amazed how easy it is to grow plants from flower bulbs if you carefully follow the planting instructions on the reverse side of the packet.

You will be amazed how easy it is to grow plants from flower bulbs if you carefully follow the planting instructions on the reverse side of the packet.

Benefits of visiting a garden center

Pop into your local plant nursery or garden centre on the coldest winter’s day and see for yourself what plants perform well under the harsh cold temperatures. It is much easier to identify evergreen plants in winter. A good plant supplier will only stock plants that will be able to tolerate the climatic conditions of the actual neighbourhood. Many summer flowering plants are deciduous plants that lose their leaves in winter.

Visiting your local plant nursery or garden centre throughout the year will expose a variety of plants that perform well in different months of the year … giving you a garden that looks good throughout the entire year.

Mercury Designs by David Viljoen.

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