As the nights draw in, the weather becomes gloomy, Bonfire Night is behind us and guess what, Christmas is only a few weeks away, why not think about creating a colourful pot to help brighten those winter days when you look out on to your garden, patio or balcony?

There are many different plants you can use to create a wonderfully seasonal, hardy, container. I’ve been shutting my garden down the last few days, wrapping pots and fleecing palms but there is nothing to stop you adding colour to brighten your days.

All your garden centres should have a good range of lovely plants to choose from, hopefully not just the sea of pansies that usually emerge at this time of year. There are many different containers you can choose from too, but try and ensure it is roomy and pick a mixture of evergreen shrubs, conifers, hardy ferns, bedding or even some hardy herbs.

A trick to take your pot through to spring is to plant some tulips deep in the soil as well to pop up unexpectedly next year. Be sure to create good drainage by adding crocks or gravel to the base of the container and make sure the container has holes in the base too.

Fill the pot two thirds full of compost and begin to pack your plants in. Try and arrange them with the taller ones at the back or middle.

Make sure you back-fill any gaps between your plants with compost to make for tight dense planting and no roots showing.

Don’t forget to water and maybe raise from the ground, good drainage usually means less chance of frost damage.

As far as my own garden is concerned, it’s almost ready for whatever winter throws at it this year.

The weather has been quite strange, with things flowering again late in October as the weather was so much warmer than usual.

This year I am going to have to rely on last year’s bulbs, as the redesign in the garden has meant I have just not had the time to plant any new ones. Fingers crossed they pop up with a dazzling display again next spring.

In my drastic bid to reduce the vast number of containers at Driftwood, my five oleander shrubs that were in pots are now in the ground and have had to be fleeced to protect them through the colder months.

They were usually lifted and placed under cover to protect from frosts. A few fuchsias from large pots are also now in the ground and I have played safe, protecting them too with a layer or two of fleece.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at