This month, John Hesse from one of our contractors, Southern Land Services, has produced a summer bedding special for those of you thinking about getting handy with the flowerpots this Spring. John has worked in horticulture for many years and has even worked in St James’s Park, tending to the bedding plants which adorn Buckingham Palace, so he definitely knows a thing or two about flowers!
What to do around the garden in May… Summer Bedding Special!
‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’ is a 12th century saying that warns people not to discard their winter clothing until the end of the month. This is due to unexpected frosts and cold snaps that appear during May just as everyone thought summer was finally here! For us in the 21st century, this great saying also serves as a warning against planting tender plants too early in the month.
Garden centres, DIY stores and supermarkets are keen to get us all out buying summer bedding for borders and baskets in April and early May, however I always recommend holding off as long as possible as late frosts can badly damage new tender plants (as we have seen over recent weeks). My best advice is to find a local garden centre and order your summer bedding for delivery or collection around mid-May. By then the plants are bigger and hardier and the chances of frosts are greatly diminished.
If you are unsure about what summer bedding to buy, I would recommend Busy Lizzies, Geraniums and Petunias. These are all available in different gloriously bright colours and can be brought as mixed or single colour plants. Wherever you live and whatever space you have, summer bedding is the absolute best way to instantly brighten up your outdoor space.
Summer bedding usually comes in packs of 6 and it’s best to allow 12 plants or 2 packs for every metre square you want to plant.
Many bedding displays have a ‘spiky’ plant in the centre which is called a cordyline. Cordylines come in 1 to 3ltr pots and add some height and interest to the border. They are hardy so will survive the winter and can be in the centre of displays for years.
Below are my top jobs and tips for summer bedding displays this May,.....
- Plant out summer bedding around the middle of the month. Geraniums do not need as much water as most and can survive all year round if the winter is mild, which makes them a great eco-friendly choice.
- Keep garden bedding displays weed free. They look better without weeds, also weeds compete with summer bedding for moisture and nutrients. Weeds can be added to grass cuttings and can be composted for use later in the year
- Keep bedding displays watered using a watering can and not a hose if possible. You use much less water with a can and also some hoses can be high pressured and will end up damaging the bedding plants
- Use Petunia ‘Sufinia’ variety for window boxes, patio pots and hanging baskets. ‘Surfinia’s can trail down a meter or more and flower for months especially if you add a ‘feed’.
- There are lots of types of summer bedding ‘feeds’ available at Garden centres, DIY stores and supermarkets. I recommend using an organic feed or looking online to find out how to make your own in the kitchen. This is a fun way to help your plants grow in great condition, reduce chemical usage in the garden and save money.