All you need to know: PLANT­ING

Make sure your gar­den’s bloom­ing beau­ti­ful with our sim­ple plant­ing tips for fab­u­lous flow­ers and home­grown food

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With so many dif­fer­ent plants avail­able, it’s hard to know which to choose and how to care for them. But we’ve scoured the gar­den cen­tres and found a se­lec­tion that are easy to look af­ter and guar­an­teed to last.

Plan ahead

When you’re plant­ing seeds and plug plants, try to en­sure that you’ll have some­thing in bloom for ev­ery month of the spring and sum­mer. Most plants have care la­bels that in­di­cate when to ex­pect flow­ers (or a har­vest for fruit and veg), so choose care­fully so there’s not a gap with­out colour. If you’re sow­ing seeds, stag­ger your sow­ings and plant batches a few weeks apart so your plants reach ma­tu­rity at dif­fer­ent times, pro­long­ing the flow­er­ing or fruit­ing sea­son. This method is known as suc­ces­sion plant­ing.

Choose starter plants

If you’re a be­gin­ner and want pretty but low-main­te­nance plants, fill con­tain­ers with trail­ing Lo­belia (usu­ally blue, pink, pur­ple or white) and up­right Gera­ni­ums (avail­able in a range of colours). These has­sle-free plants come in great-value plug form from gar­den cen­tres in late spring and early sum­mer. Dead head them reg­u­larly to pro­long flow­er­ing.

Trans­form bor­ders

The key to show­stop­ping bor­ders is to vary the height of plants, po­si­tion­ing

Con­sider plant­ing some nas­tur­tiums in your veg patch - not only are the flow­ers pretty and edible, they at­tract black­fly away from your main Crops

taller shrubs and flow­ers at the back and lower ones to­wards the front. Hol­ly­hocks, Fox­gloves and Del­phini­ums all look strik­ing near the back of bor­ders and pro­vide long-last­ing dis­plays. Smaller flow­ers such as Sweet Wil­liams, Marigolds and Stocks are bet­ter suited to the front of bor­ders as they’re shorter so you’ll be able to see what’s be­hind them.

At­tract in­sects

Do your bit for na­ture and choose fra­grant plants that will at­tract bees and but­ter­flies, while look­ing and smelling lovely at the same time. Laven­der, salvia, al­li­ums and corn­flow­ers are favourite op­tions for both but­ter­flies and bees, and flow­er­ing shrubs such as lilacs and bud­dleias – nick­named ‘But­ter­fly Bush’ – are also win­ners.

Grow your own

If you’re plant­ing a back gar­den veg­etable patch, it’s best to stick to easy-to-care-for, high-yield­ing plants that you can use all sum­mer long. Pota­toes don’t re­quire much ef­fort once they’re in – just wa­ter­ing and weed­ing – so they’re a good choice if you don’t have much time to main­tain the patch. Plant some cut-and-come-again salad plants (such as Salad Mix, Frilly and Dec­o­ra­tive, £1.75 for 250 seeds, Quick­crop) so you can pluck a hand­ful of fresh leaves for din­ner ev­ery day. Radishes are good choices, too, as they’re easy to grow (you just sow them straight into the soil) and quite quick to swell up – which is ideal for im­pa­tient gar­den­ers. Again, they’re per­fect for last-minute sal­ads or sand­wiches, so are very use­ful to have to hand.

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