Six of the best plants for winter

Six of the best winter bedding beauties!

The autumnal feel to the weather sends many of us scurrying indoors, but this is a great time to get outside and plant some winter bedding. It will uplift the spirits throughout the darker seasons. Now there's an investment! Here's five of the best plants for pots, containers and even borders. Make sure you see them from your windows and en route to your door. They will uplift the spirits and keep you interested in the garden right through until spring.

1: PANSIES

Who can resist those cheerful, smiling flower faces?  There are so many luscious sounding names, they are bound to raise the spirits. How about Cassis Mix for example? pansy, pansies, winter bedding, flowers, winter, garden, pots, containers, plants Pansy 'Cassis Mix' has a bright yellow 'eye' and delightful magenta coloured petals with burgundy and white. Or there's a whole family of pansy 'blotch' varieties including blue, white, rose, red and yellow . pansy, rose blotch, winter bedding, colour, flowers, garden, pots, containers Pansy 'Rose Blotch' will warm you up all winter through! Pansies just have to be the easiest bedding plant of all. Just pop them in some multi-purpose compost, keep them watered and dead-head them to ensure you get continuous flowering all through the winter. What's our favourite? Pansy Purple & Orange Mix is just so beautiful, it gets our vote. pansy, winter bedding, purple and orange, colour, winter, garden, flowers Pansy purple and orange mix. What a winning combination!

2: VIOLAS

Violas are very much like small pansies, but they do often have a subtle and rather delightful scent. An abundance of smaller flowers in a compact mound. They will also flower all through the winter. viola yellow blotch, viola, yellow, flowers, winter bedding, hardy, garden, pots Viola 'Yellow Blotch' is like a ray of sunshine which will continue to shine throughout the winter. viola raspberry sorbet, viola, winter bedding, flowers, pots, containers, garden This one will make your mouth water: Viola 'Raspberry Sorbet'. What a wonderful colour.

3: PRIMROSES

Everyone loves a primrose. And now they've been given attention by plant breeders they flower from winter right through until spring and even beyond. This pretty cottage garden plant comes in a host of bright and beautiful colours as well as the wonderful, traditional cream. It can be treated as a hardy perennial. Pop it in a pot, in the border or on banks. It will definitely make you smile. primrose cottage cream, primrose, winter bedding, flowers, spring, winter Primroses! They really are the harbingers of spring. The traditional cream or yellow are beautiful but there are bright colours too.

4: POLYANTHUS

These are very much like their primrose cousins but the flowers are produced on stalks. They are raised higher off the ground and have studier stems. Polyanthus come in many different bright colours and they really are joyful. They'll flower right through the winter too. polyanthus, red, yellow, blue, winter bedding, flowers, garden, winter Polyanthus come in all sorts of luscious colours.

5: CYCLAMEN

These little, ground-hugging beauties look wonderful grouped under trees. Cyclamen coum are true winter-flowering plants, but even the brighter coloured Cyclamen persicum are considered hardy. They will keep flowering through the darkest months and are well worth having. There's nothing quite so wonderful as seeing a naturally-occurring group of Cyclamen flowering on a woodland edge. cyclamen Be bold with your winter pots and containers and you'll be noticed! We all need some brightness during the darkest months of the year so make the most of the light evenings and plant your winter bedding before the clocks go back on 30 October. 

6: LAST, BUT NOT LEAST - FOLIAGE!

Heuchera 'Glitter', heuchera, foliage, plant, winter, garden Heuchera can look just as stunning as bedding plants if you plant them en-masse Phormium Jester, phormium, garden, winter, colour, planting Phormium stems can be brightly coloured and these stately plants give great structure as well as brightness.                       Don't forget those wonderful foliage plants such as Heuchera and Phormium.  Plant Heuchera in groups, using contrasting foliage colours such as lime greens next to purple. These hardy perennials will keep going for many years and they have different seasonal interest including delicate flowers which rise on stalks.