All you need to know: PLANTING
Make sure your garden’s blooming beautiful with our simple planting tips for fabulous flowers and homegrown food
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.
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.
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.
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.