As soon as the chance of frost is over, it is time to get out in the garden and plant some colourful bedding plants that will give you a beautiful display all summer and well into the autumn.
Garden centres like ours have a vast choice, now take some time when choosing to make sure the plants you buy are healthy, full of life and worth the price you are paying. Avoid those that have obviously been neglected, wilting through lack of water or tall and straggly. Check the root system, the roots should be clean and white and not completely filling the ball of compost. Plants that have had their first flowers removed have probably been in the container far too long.
Be on the lookout for pests such as greenfly and whitefly particularly on fuchsia’s and calceolaria, together with powdery mildew disease (white fluffily spots on the leaves of petunia and begonia). If in doubt about what to plant, seek advice from someone with a little experience. The plants men at our garden centre are always pleased to help. When seeking advice, it is much easier if you bring along a few photographs of your garden and indicate the areas of sun and shade. If possible, call during a weekday when we can give you more time as weekends tend to be very busy.
For the new and inexperienced gardener, it is important to read the labels so as to assess the final height and spacing as the plant 3” high when planted could grow to over 3ft. This information will help decide what and where in the garden to plant.
There may be some very good offers available but check the quality first as the old saying goes “If you buy cheap you could be paying dear” and poor-quality seedlings will never make a specimen plant.
Annual bedding plants are such good value giving wonderful colours to our gardens, a plant bought now with a little care can be expected to flower until the first frosts in late October.
The fashion in planting summer bedding has changed considerably since the early days of our business when we supplied the large gardens of the big houses in Streetly, Little Aston and Sutton Coldfield. Many of them now long gone and replaced with apartments and small estates.
The head gardener would give us a list of his requirements in January for us to deliver in May and June for them to be planted out in the formal beds and borders. Although we still see these formal bedding schemes in the municipal parks particularly in tourist resorts, there has been a huge shift in the types of situations where bedding plants are used today.
They are now used in much smaller quantities in hanging baskets, containers and to add colour to established shrub borders, plant in groups of one variety and colour for a stunning effect.
Tip from Brian.
It is hard work mowing tall wet grass; try spraying the mower blades with a little light oil thus helping to prevent the grass sticking to them.