Nasturtiums, right, are fast growers that add bright colour to containers, borders and rockeries. There are climbing and bush varieties in mixed and individual colours of apricot, mahogany, gold, yellow and red. Alaska has variegated leaves. Leaves and flowers have a peppery taste that can be used to garnish salads and desserts.
Welcome your visitors with pots of brightly coloured flowers grouped at the entrance to your home. If the entrance is sunny, choose dwarf marigolds, salvia, nicotiana and vinca for the centre of the container, and around the edges plant trailing lobelia, nasturtium and alyssum. Begonia, New Guinea impatiens and torenia suit pots in shaded areas.
Older varieties of hydrangeas may reach 2m in height and make excellent background shrubs for positions in dappled or filtered shade. Modern cultivars are smaller and compact and suitable for the front of a lightly shaded border or for growing in containers, also in light shade. Hydrangeas flower generously at this time and should be watered deeply and the foliage sprayed on hot days.
Overcrowding is especially noticeable in small gardens, so when buying plants, check labels to establish mature height and width.
If you like bright colours and plants that can withstand heat, plant bold groups of celosias with their silky feathery plumes of pink, gold, orange, red or maroon.
The white flowers of gardenias flower in midsummer. They need a rich, acid soil and a position in filtered shade, or in morning sun and afternoon shade. Prevent damage from sooty mould by spraying with Malathion or Oleum.