Winter Bedding

I’ve never been a bedding fan and always turned my sophisticated nose up at gaudy displays of pansies and begonias planted en-mass in usually hideous patterns. However, with the six trugs lining the front of the house I got my chance at bedding this summer by filling them with trailing fuchsias and lobelia. I defend myself by pointing out the fact that these are not traditional bedding plants at all, but plants more attuned to hanging baskets, it’s just that my baskets were somewhat larger and supported at ground level.

Clematis Trugs with Bedding

The display was wonderful and incredibly uplifting, especially when the rest of the garden is a work in progress. The only thing missing was an irrigation system that was more reliable than my memory of when it was that I last got the hose out. It turns out that even large trugs need regular watering over the of summer when they’re crammed this full of flowering plants.

Now that we’re well into Autumn – despite the very mild weather we’ve had – the summer display is over, the fuchsias have dropped all their leaves and the lobelia have long since flowered and turned brown. What to do now?

Well, in an effort to try to keep the flowering going all year-round I decided to put the trugs to use as winter bedding containers. I also took the opportunity to completely refresh the soil (turning out the clematis and replanting them again). The new soil was a mix of well-rotted manure, compost and some of the old soil. I’m hoping that the well-rotted manure will hang on to the water much better than the previous soil did. So off we trotted to a local garden centre to get some pansies.

Trug of Winter PansiesThe clematis were also pruned hard in some kind of vague attempt to try and get them to grow better next season. Like all my attempts to help clematis, it probably won’t work. Anyway, after much huffing and puffing, soil mixing, transplanting and carting about of trugs, the winter display is now complete and will persist until well into next year – when the time comes to get the summer bedding back in – at which point I will have hopefully plumbed in a more reliable watering system.

These trugs were only supposed to be a temporary measure; an easy and instant flower display while the true borders were being restored and planted in the background. Once the borders were in bloom, the trugs would no longer be needed. However, after spending a season with them lining the front of the house, I felt it would look odd if they were taken away. The trugs have become a permanent feature of the front garden, all six lined in front of the house greeting us, visitors and passers by. It would be very handy if I could change the display at the push of a button. Schemes that have run through my head are:

  • A regiment of six canariensis or other exotic palms
  • A line of six trugs stuffed with billowing Agapanthus
  • A row of six trugs stuffed with regal Strelitzia
  • A rank of six large, beautifully intricate bonsai

I could have something different each day of the week or – like my desktop wallpaper – a change every thirty minutes. As it is, real life dictates a slower pace of change. At the moment it’s summer and winter bedding and it will probably stay at that. It’s not too-shabby a display for it though, especially given the season.

Row of Winter Bedding in Trugs


  1. Well done for the Summer display Sunil….. and good luck with the pansies – don’t forget slugs like Pansies (just saying!). Can yu get some early bulbs in those trugs too? Perhaps miniature daffs? That would ensure another show early next season?


    1. Hi Mrs Mac, I decided not to put spring bulbs in the trugs, but there are miniature daffodils ear-marked for the bay window border (behind the middle trugs), which only today I just managed to clear in preparation for digging, improving and re-instating as a new border, ready for planting.


    1. Hi Tammy, it’s the way that they were just an afterthought at first, but turned out to be the best thing that happened to the front garden. We’ve even had compliments this summer from neighbours opposite who can see them from their windows.


  2. I also found that once you start putting annuals in containers of any kind, it’s hard to go back. No need to apologize for planting pansies, I love them and plant them by the battalion in early spring.


    1. Hello Jason, I’ve seen pictures of your annuals planted in all manner of containers, including old wheelbarrows and they look stunning, I’d ben happy with just half the display!


  3. Hi Sunil, bedding plants!! no need to defend yourself whether planted in containers or in the ground.
    We have always found room for permanent planting and annuals, granted the annuals don’t play as big a part in our garden as they once did, still manage to enjoy them though..


    1. Hello Alistair, thank you, though I still can’t hep feeling as though I’ve admitted something terrible. I seem to be hooked on those display trugs though as I can’t wait for next year’s display. I’m trying to overwinter the fuchsias I planted in the greenhouse.


  4. It looks perfectly wonderful! I never tire of pansies, though some think them common. I love the fragrance and the happy faces!


    1. Hello Jayne, thank you, I didn’t know they were fragrant! I’ll have to check it out the next chance I get but it’s rained so much here I’d get a wet nose trying to smell anything.


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