Given the right conditions, cyclamens
brought in to bloom for the holiday season will continue blossoming for two to three months.
Hardy bedding plants will provide most colour, so check out what's looking best in your local garden centre - polyanthus, primula, violas, Bellis or winter perennis, wallflowers and cyclamen
are all suitable candidates and the more the merrier, because these plants won't grow much over winter so they need packing in tightly.
should be planted in summer near the soil surface in well-drained soil.
EXPERT TIP: To put your patio in the pink, colour-match your chrysanthemums with miniature cyclamen
, pernettya and calluna Anette.
A perfect companion shrub to primroses or cyclamens
in dappled light is the winter-blooming heather, Erica canaliculata, with cultivars that produce delicate pendulous urn-shaped flowers in pink, red and purple.
in particular will repay careful attention by flowering for many weeks in autumn and winter.
There are a few exceptions, of course ( hardy cyclamens
flower and sprout their beautiful marbled leaves, winter-blooming shrubs like mahonia and viburnum form their fragrant flower buds, while witch-hazel flowers also scent the coldest days.
Pots look great with trailing plants, so don't forget trailing ivies.
Pink heathers and cyclamen
make an eye-catching autumn planting scheme and quite an unusual hue from the normal burnt oranges, burgundies or yellows.
should be planted in summer in well-drained soil which has been enriched with well-rotted leaf mould.