Gardening jobs for the week

My container tomatoes have blight, my summer bedding is bedraggled and all my pots are looking a bit forlorn – so there’s no better time to cheer myself up with some bright winter candidates, writes Hannah Stephenson.

Autumn and winter don’t have to be dull if you have a patio and some pots, because even a pot or two of dainty violas or a mixture of heathers and red-berried evergreens or coloured stems will perk up any outside space.

Autumn leaf colour can be spectacular if you plant one specimen Japanese maple in a pot, such as ‘Bloodgood’.

Skimmia ‘Rubella’ can span three seasons, its fat red buds appearing in autumn and winter and finally opening in spring.

Plant it alongside ornamental cabbages and kales, whose leaves provide a rich tapestry of vivid purples and pinks, and you can have a stunning container.

When the sun becomes lower in the sky, arrange your pots in the sunniest corners near windows, where they can be seen from indoors and will provide mutual protection when it’s really cold.

Plant containers in autumn with at least one long-lasting scheme, including such stalwarts as heuchera, ivy and skimmia.

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