Winter Clearance

The Nomadic Patio Pot display on the “upper terrace” is probably the most intensive and time-consuming part of the garden. It is an ever shifting, fluidic display of annuals, perennials, bulbs, tubers and shrubs that all come together for a stunning summer display, only to scatter to the winds and completely disappear some months later, leaving no sign it was ever there. Never the same twice, it has gradually expanded and become a major part of the hardscaping, framing the view out to the garden beyond.

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With the winter now well on the way, so again it is time to dismantle the patio pots, shelter the smaller ones, protect the terracotta ones and turf out the finished annuals. Over a series of weekends the display has been taken apart pot by pot and the patio cleared, ready for the winter and the eventual spring clean before the whole collection is reassembled. It’s quite a job, involving lots of heavy lifting but I’m rewarding myself with thinking of what I can plant in many of the pots next season.

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As the weather worsens and the last few pots remain, there’s a strange sense of “bye bye for now”, until the cycle starts all over again with the patio cleaning next spring. This annual change is very dramatic, but so are the changes in the rest of the garden, where the dahlias have been cut back to ground level, leaves are falling from shrubs and trees, leaving just skeletons and the herbaceous plants are going dormant revealing bare soil. Parts of the border that haven’t been seen for months are now slowly being exposed.

I plan to carry on with the winter clearance not just on the patio, but out in certain parts of the garden as I need clear ground to do a spot of bulb planting (otherwise it would normally be left). I hadn’t expected to do any, what with it being so late in the season and given all the work done over the summer, but I just couldn’t face the next season without having some form of early colour. We had a lawn full of daffodils in our previous garden yet we have very, very few bulbs in the new garden and that’s something that I can’t wait any longer to put right. If we haven’t managed to do the bulb planting en-masse, then a few hundred a year quickly isn’t too taxing and it quickly adds up.

5 Comments


  1. The ever-changing nature of container gardening appeals to me, but I don’t have many pots in my garden as I don’t have the time to tend them. I’m pleased you’re getting some early colour into your garden. Bulb planting always seems to be such a mammoth investment of time and money in a new garden… So much work for so little immediate gain. I have been gradually adding bulbs here every year. Resources have dictated the rate at which I have added them and I’m pleased about this as some have faired better than others. Here’s to spring flowers!

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    1. Hello Sarah, a large collection of pots can be hard work, but I couldn’t imagine the patio without them. They also work as temporary or overspill storage while the permanent planting place in the border is being made. I did a mass of bulb planting today and I can now barely walk! I’m looking forward to a display of crocuses in a couple of months time though. It’s a modest start but at least it is something. I’m hoping to gradually improve on the bulb display as the years go on.

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  2. I am doing bulb lasagne posts for presents this year….. and frankly I should have done one for me!! Good luck with the planting, I keep poking a packet or two of tulips in every year and they seem to like it here. I didn’t buy any daffs this year…. and I only like the small ones. Still a few will be reariung their cute little heads in the spring. Don’t foget pics of your early spring colour!

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      1. Hello Mrs Mac, that’s OK, I got there in the end! I haven’t tried tulips in the ground and I suspect the garden might be too wet for them. We don’t actually have daffodils (yet), we did inherit a handful of them scattered around but they all disappeared when the borders were made/redone so we lost them. It would be nice to bring them back, eventually.

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