The May June Garden

cosmos_small The danger of late frost should be over in Hersham and Elmbridge by about 10 May.

This is hugely liberating for gardeners. Now is the time to really get going with planting out tender vegetables and all those summer bedding plants that flower their socks off until the first frosts of the autumn.

Let’s leave talking about vegetables for another occasion and think about bedding plants. For a relatively small outlay you can enjoy a colourful display all summer long. Hanging baskets, pots and borders can be filled with colour combinations as wildly bold or romantically muted as you wish. We are so fortunate with the vast range of bedding plants available to us. Many of these plants, such as Geraniums, Fuchsias and Petunias are old favourites but there are always new and exciting varieties of them to try, as well as Verbena, Nemesia, Cosmos and the delightful daisy-like Osteospurmum.

Bedding plants gained their name from the rather formal bedding systems of the Nineteenth Century. geranium_smallDuring the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries a huge number of plants were introduced to Britain from abroad. They were soon being propagated on a grand scale in greenhouses on large estates and “bedded out” when they were about to flower. Complex patterns and shapes were created in formal beds designed to inspire admiration in all who saw them. They were also a mark of the status of the landowner.

Bedding plants do need regular watering. Life can be made easier by using a compost containing water retaining granules or adding these granules or gel to a multi-purpose compost.

Bedding plants also benefit from regular feeding. Some composts contain a certain amount of plant food but this is used up over time. Continuous release and granular fertilisers are available to use at the time of planting. Supplementing with a regular liquid feed is usually the easiest way to keep your bedding plants looking good throughout the summer.

cosmos2_smallIt is a really good idea to do some dead-heading, removing the old heads encourages the plant to flower over a much longer period.

Most of all bedding plants are to be enjoyed for what they are – a bit of fun and a splash of colour from May to September.

Sarah Squire

Sarah started in the business as a weekender while still at school. After qualifying as a Solicitor she worked with a firm of solicitors and specialised in commercial property before deciding to cease to practice law and and come back into the family business in 1995. Her favourite groups of plants are herbaceous perennials and roses.

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