How to make a festive planter

The completed festive planter

The completed festive planter - Credit: Pics; John Cocks

Leafy Lytham’s Greg Anderton presents a step-by-step guide to making a stunning festive planter which will be sure to add colour and interest to any room at Christmas.

Step 1

Step 1 - Credit: Pics; John Cocks

Choose a container with character - a galvanised bucket like I'm using, or maybe a terracotta planter. Make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom. Add a shallow layer of grit to stop the hols clogging up - you could use gravel, broken pots or even pieces on polystyrene.

Step 2

Step 2 - Credit: Pics; John Cocks

Fill about two-thirds of the container with compost. I'm using peat-free compost with a little grit added to aid drainage. Add some spring bulbs then fill the container to the top with compost. Crocus, miniature Narcissus, irises, hyacinths and tulips all work well. The bulbs will come through as the other plants fade, giving another shot of colour.

Step 3

Step 3 - Credit: Pics; John Cocks

Select a colour scheme and choose your winter blooms. I've used English cyclamen which will go right through to March, calocephalus, trailing ivy, gaultheria and a picea tree which I'll cover with twinkling lights at Christmas.

The completed festive planter

The completed festive planter - Credit: Pics; John Cocks

Winter planters are easy to care for and aren't fussy about sun or shade. They don't need to be fed, just water the container when it dries out. Deadhead the cyclamen by pulling spent flowers from the base.

Greg Anderton has loved flowers since he was a toddler and in recent years he has grown his passion into a thriving business.

The roots of his Leafy Lytham enterprise can be traced back to a summer fair at his primary school in the town where he ran a plant stall which raised £40.

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'That was when I thought I could do it as a career,' he said. 'I used to walk round my grandparent's garden with a watering can when I was tiny and then all through secondary school I sold planters and hanging baskets to the teachers.'

After studying business at Edge Hill University, he returned to Lytham and started to look after hanging baskets, window boxes and floral displays for Lytham in Bloom. Then about 18 months ago he opened a plant centre at Lytham Hall where he now has a team of six who sell planters, hanging baskets and plants - most of which are English grown.

'I specialise in plants that grow well in this area,' he said. 'Gardening has given me such pleasure and being able to share my knowledge and passion is a dream come true. My aim is to help people who don't have much time or much knowledge about gardening to achieve their dream garden.'