All going well, the last of the frosts have left us and it is time to plant drifts of summer bedding plants.
These form blankets of colour beside which you can sit during the summer months, drinking cold drinks and chatting with friends. It is probably the most sociable time of year outdoors.
The ground should be well dug prior to planting and garden compost added it you have it. Remember that once summer bedding plants are planted, they have to settle in, develop, flower and die all in the one season. So much to do and all in a few months. For that reason the diet of the plants is very important. As mentioned above, plant into composted soil and following that feed every 10 days – 2 weeks with a liquid plant food. I tend to use liquid tomato food as it is high in potash and so aids flowering.
Bedding plants can be planted in beds of their own, in borders, among shrubs or in fact anywhere you want. There are no hard and fast rules. Let your own taste dictate. Many people like to mix colours and plant types while others prefer to stick to a theme. Again the choice is yours.
Most summer bedding plants are tolerant of sunshine. I have a preference for Godetia, Nemesia and Pansies. To my mind the old varieties are still the best ones. I also believe that you cannot go far wrong with Geraniums and Fuchsias, particularly in the gardens of older properties.
If planting in shaded beds you will find that your choices are a bit more limited but it is not an impossible task. Believe it or not, Bizzy Lizzy plants and Mimulus prefer shaded and moist areas rather than bright and hot spots.
The biggest adversary that you will have in your bedding border is the slug. Slugs show no mercy and will eat almost anything, but have a real fondness for French Marigolds, Dahlias and Salvias.
Water your bedding plants at night or in the early morning as watering mid day during the height of the sunshine only causes leaf scorch.
Consider planting some flowers this summer; even a few in a window box, basket or bucket will create impact and brighten your day.
• Remove rose suckers.
• Continue clipping hedges.
• Feed your lawns and treat weeds.
• Feed shrubs with a general fertiliser.
• Spray apple trees against scab.
• Thin out vegetable seedlings.
• Apply shading in greenhouses and conservatories.
• Re-pot house plants.
• Remove side shoots from tomato plants.
• Plant summer bedding plants.
• Sow wallflower seeds for next year.
• Sow winter cabbage seeds.
• Spray roses.
• Kill moss in lawns using Lawn Gold, Sulphate of Iron or a scarifier.
• Prune spring flowering shrubs.
• Take Hydrangea cuttings and other softwood cuttings. These to be kept indoors until rooted.