Creative ideas for every season

Cover_NOV1ipad.inddEach month I contribute to Garden News purely as an enthusiastic gardener. Most of the time it’s all good news, but there’s always the time when it all goes wrong. I don’t have time to get upset, I just get mad instead. But I have found that there is always a fabulous thing waiting round the corner to surprise me. Join me in this months wonder….

Brighten a winter’s day with these fun gardening projects

A few hours of creativity in the garden can lift the spirits in winter. My log store really needed to be relocated right by the back door, and it is the first thing you look at though the French windows. An old bookcase was put to work and it made this outdoor area part of the house again. It also presented a spacious shelf for a container garden. Not only that but the pile of logs yearned for a bit of green. Up-cycling an old kitchen zinc laundry bath was destined for a start of a small fernery.
I have gathered together gift ideas and decorations  such as a Fairy Garden with a beach theme for children, a living wreath and decorative individual hanging plants. If you are yearning for a few ideas this winter, read on….


Winter Container
I used a white and purple colour scheme use the foliage as the main interest. Cyclamen, purple cabbages, Dusty Miller a heuchera and some lichen covered twigs. The Heuchera tiny yellow flowers match the colours of the lichen beautifully. The skimmias look good in vintage terracotta pots.

Purple and silver with a dash of lichen green.
Purple and silver with a dash of lichen green.

Living Sempervivum Wreath

Make this fabulous wreath. Go to this  STEP BY STEP guide

This magical living wreath was surprisingly easy. I already had a skeleton wreath that looked empty and sad, but it’s easy to get a florists wire ring frame and wrap it with compacted moss. All I had to do with mine was stuff it with moss.
Sphagnum moss is long-lasting and highly absorbent and only £4.99 a packet (I used half). I took advantage of 6 for a £10 deal with the plants. Then ordered a collection of plants from the internet but they were just too small to use. I chose three fabulous Echeveria elegans (3 for £10) for the main focal points. It was time-consuming and took 4 and a half hours and cost approx £28.00 in materials.

Make this fabulous wreath. Go to

<a href="">STEP BY STEP</a>


Fernery in zinc tubs
My new log store, though handy and close to the house, looked far too craggy and bare for my liking. Green is what I wanted and some ferns would be great over winter colour. Then I had an idea to post some baby fens into the log pile like they might do growing naturally in ancient log piles.
A material like zinc will look good too. Continuing with the up-cycling theme, kitchen tubs and buckets are ideal and set compliment the fern leaves and logs nicely. I chose contrasting leaved ferns planting a Hart’s tongue (Asplenium sclopendrrium) and a Japanese tassel fern (Polystichum polyblepharum).

1. Drill holes in the container. 2. Wrap hessian arounf ferns that are to go in the logs pile. 3. Mix leaf mold with compost before planting.
1. Drill holes in the container. 2. Wrap hessian around ferns that are to go in the logs pile. 3. Mix leaf mold with compost before planting.


A Magical Fairy Garden
The fairies at the bottom of the garden need a holiday too. Its has to be the most enchanted place ever created so have fun with the most exotic and crazy plants that you can find. I chose a curly leafed conifer as the main tree, and a Calocephalus for its amazing colour. Choose plants that will have a same colour scheme and watering requirements.
I created a little landscape in my greenhouse using lichen-covered twigs as deciduous trees and other small shrubs that looked like a forest. Then I realised that the fairies might not be able to get into their garden so my friend made a hobbit ladder out of small pieces of wood and kebab sticks.

Put some magic into your little garden

Hobbits will need a helping hand, so a ladder was duly constructed.
Hobbits will need a helping hand, so a ladder was duly constructed.
  • It’s got to look like a miniature landscape so small evergreen conifers and tiny leaved shrubs all work well.
  • Sand, small pebbles and shells will add drama. I stuffed baby succulents left over from the wreath into the larger shells.
  •  Dolls house deck chair and a homemade Hobbit ladder completed the look.

SUCCULENT Dividing succulents and make a hanging plant decoration
Working with succulents is a chance to divide them to make more plants. Whilst creating these decorations I am planting up the baby off-shoots. Check the off-shoots have some roots of their own before cutting from the mother. Then insert into compost mixed with sand for good drainage. Water lightly and dress with gravel.

SUCCULENT DECORATIONFor the hanging decorations I cut squares of newspaper and a square of pond hessian (60p a sheet) and placed the plant in the middle. Gather up and tie, not too tightly, around the neck of the plant. Then using raffia tie around the plant base and make a basket. You can now hang these from small trees in a sheltered spot or in a conservatory.

Squares of newspaper and pond hessian.
Squares of newspaper and pond hessian.
Gather up and tie with gently with string.
Gather up and tie with gently with string.

Thanks to: Roly Scotney for the Hobbit Ladder.

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