Create a winter showstopper

Give seasonal flower displays a stylish new twist. Emma Hardy shares a creative idea to try at home, using clematis, sarcococca and pussy willow stems

Create a winter showstopper

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Choose a simple container to create this stylish display with sarcococca, winter clematis and pussy willow stems. Sarcococca, or sweet box, is an absolute must in the winter garden – position it by the door to enjoy its fragrance. Plus it’s always a lovely surprise to discover clematis flowers in the depths of winter.

Creative winter container display using using clematis, sarcococca and pussy willow stems
Creative winter container display using using clematis, sarcococca and pussy willow stems


• ceramic windowbox or similar

• crocks

• multipurpose compost

• 1x Sarcococca confusa

• 1x Clematis urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’

• 8x salix (pussy willow) stems

• raffia

• bun moss

1 Place a few crocks over the drainage holes in the base of the windowbox to prevent them becoming blocked with compost. Half-fill the box with compost.

2 Soak the rootballs of both plants in water for at least 20 minutes until they’re soaking wet. Take the sarcococca out of its pot and position it in the centre of the container.

3 Remove the clematis from its pot and plant to one side of the sarcococca, but a little deeper. Fill around both plants with more compost and firm in place.

4 Place four pussy willow stems at each end of the windowbox, pushing them right down into the container.

5 Carefully unfasten the clematis from its support pole and tie it to the willow stems with raffia instead, making sure it’s held securely in place. Discard the support pole. The clematis will climb the willow stems instead.

6 Gather the willow stem ends together, overlapping them slightly, and tie with raffia. Trim the raffia ends neatly. Cover the surface of the potting compost with bun moss, butting them up so no compost is visible.

The Winter Garden by Emma Hardy £12.99 Cico Books


This is an edited extract from The Winter Garden by Emma Hardy with photography by Debbie Patterson (£12.99, Cico Books). Readers can buy a copy for the special price of £9. To order go to and use code ANSWERSWINTER at checkout. Offer valid until 9 January 2021.

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