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Bed Time

An article by our feature writer Christine Walkden

Like so many people I am always amazed at the rate at which time flies. It only seems like yesterday that I was planting my autumn bedding plants and looking forward to their displays and now I am at the stage of starting again but this time with summer bedding.

Sowing seed is great but for many people, they do not have the facilities nor the time and this is where plugs and garden ready plants really come into their own.


The other occasion when buying plugs or ready plants is helpful, Is where germination of the plant itself can be difficult. 

Although I am an experienced gardener, I have tried for years to be really successful with impatiens seeds and although I get a reasonable germination rate I also experience losses when I prick them out so these days I have learnt not to bother with the effort and just buy plugs and grow these on.

I think summer bedding is very much the grower’s choice as to whether they are going to use mixed colours or single colours.

I spend some time at the beginning of the year thinking about what it is I would like to achieve.

Sometimes I will just plant blocks of single a colour while at other times I will select a mixture. It very much depends on what it is I am trying to do.

Experience has taught me that at the front of my house to use single colour themes such as pink, red or white.

I have noticed that if I go for a mixture of colours, this area always looks too busy and fussy. While in my back garden I often find that mixtures bring much more brightness to these beds.

The great thing these days is that we are offered both mixtures and single collections so it does make life exciting and easy.

Another thing I have learned with experience is to try and vary the height of the plants you use. IF you go for all the same height throughout each bed or garden it can result in a very flat appearance. I often add a dot plant. One which is taller than all the others just to break up the heights and add a bit of additional interest. Fuchsias, standard geraniums and coleus are some of my old fashioned favourites but take a look at what is being offered in the trade and see what works well for you. I tend to go with a contrast in colour rather than going for the same colour flower or foliage but it depends on what you want to achieve, and do remember, it’s your garden, just enjoy it and if you feel you made a mistake this year, you can change it next.

Enjoy the summer in your garden.

Christine’s Handy Hints

The evening before you are going to plant out your garden ready plants or prick out or pot your plugs, give them a good watering. The following morning leave them standing in trays of half strength fertilizer. I often use Miracle grow or Phostrogen. This gives them a good start. However don’t be too kind and increase the strength of the solution in which they stand or you can burn the roots and cause the plants to die.

If you haven’t got a greenhouse buy yourself one of the very inexpensive plastic greenhouses that you put together yourself and pop your plugs and plants in there when they are ready to harden off.

You do not need a greenhouse so don’t be put off growing plugs just because you think you need special equipment

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