Top ten bedding plants
Top spot goes to Impatiens (Busy Lizzies), especially the newer hybrids in shades of pink and lilac. They are ideal for damp, shady places and are a superb choice for Irish gardens and typical Irish summers! Petunias
Petunias fill our second spot, especially the surfinia strains. For general bedding, choose the multiflora strains because while their blooms may be smaller than those of the Surfinias, they're borne in large numbers and stand up to wet weather much better. Lobelia
Whether you use trailing or bunching forms, sheets of colour will be yours, but nowadays lobelia comes in many shades and not just reliable blues. 'Cambridge Blue' rather than darker 'Crystal Palace' will provide you with a sky blue. Begonia
Begonia semperflorens come next -- these fibrous-rooted reliables perform excellently in poor summers. There are chocolate brown varieties such as 'Cocktail' and white blooms, as well as the more commonly used pink or red forms. Cirrus
Set off any bedding scheme and provide texture and colour by including a selection of foliage plants. Senecio cineraria has masses of silver coated leaves. Cirrus has broad leaves and a blue/silver colouring.
French marigolds will succeed where most other summer bedding plants fail, so for a bright splash of colour over a very long period, these are the ones to choose. There are quite a number of yellow, orange and brown coloured forms to choose from. Nemesia
A favourite with its vast range of colours on blooms that can be 2cm across. More suited to our wet weather and can suffer in hot, dry conditions. Once the main flush of blooms has finished, shear the tops off to encourage more flowers. Bedding Dahlias For easy maintenance and a reliable performance, bedding Dahlias come next, despite their tendency to attract earwigs. If you like a particular colour, dig up the underground tuber in the autumn, clean and store in a cool, dry and dark place. Godetia A much loved and easyto-grow summer plant, especially the 'Dwarf Mixed' strain which grows to just under a foot in height. These are superb for the front of a border, and they continue from July until the end of September. Cosmos
This tall, slender plant produces large blooms and delicate ferny foliage which you can easily see through. It thrives on poor, light soils giving colour, shape and form from the end of June to the first frosts.