Bristol Post

Late bloomers will be worth the wait

A cold spring means colour will be delayed but still uplifting this year


OUR summer colour is a little delayed this year because May was cold. There were plenty of bedding plants and tender perennials available to buy but it was just too miserable to put them out.

So don’t fret if your colour is late – it’s like that for many of us and if you haven’t already, now is the time to fill those pots, troughs, and baskets.

I have a few different styles when it comes to planting colour. In my own garden I favour single colours per pot, with lots of pots of different heights. I’ve been busy this week planting up terracotta pots for my courtyard area.

This is in a sunny position in the garden and was created last year using some blue and green patterned encaustic cement tiles.

The addition of a simple green table and chairs makes this a lovely breakfast or lunch area and I love to be surrounded by loads of flowers. So this year I have pots of red salvia, purple salvia, mauve verbena, a beautiful dark purple-pink fragrant rose named after the model Heidi Klum as well as lots of pale and dark pink cosmos and blue penstemon. I also plant up my mum’s containers for her balcony garden and she prefers explosions of brashness.

Here I’ve used a window box and tightly packed it with nemesia, a bright scarlet bedding verbena, cosmos, fuchsia and purple salvias.

Nemesia is definitely one of my top bedding plants – they’re fragrant, very long flowering and come in a great range of colours including orange, pink, purple and blue and often bi-coloured as well.

Other suitable plants for arrangemen­ts like this and hanging baskets

are bacopa, bidens, trailing pelargoniu­ms, nasturtium­s, petunias, lobelia, and felicia.

Watering is essential to keep these displays looking good all summer and I also “juice” them every week – that’s a liquid high potash feed to promote flowering.

You don’t have to confine yourself to colourful bedding plants either. There are lots of herbaceous plants that will make summer-long displays acting like mini-herbaceous borders.

Drought tolerant Mediterran­ean

plants will cope better with lapses in your watering routines. Planted in free-draining compost, herbs such as sage, lavender, thyme and rosemary make fragrant container gardens and silvery leaved plants like stachys and artemisia are also forgiving of a bit of neglect.

These pair well with blue Cupid’s dart (catananche caerulea) and bottlebrus­h purple blooms of the scented giant hyssop (Agastache ‘Black Adder’) and globe flowered Echinops ritro. If your courtyard is shady much of the day, begonias and busy lizzies

are the go-to plants here. Partially shaded areas are good for hydrangeas as well and once you keep these watered, will provide really strong pops of colour for the rest of summer.

Container gardening is easy – it’s a fun, creative and meditative way to spend a few hours. It’s like painting a picture...there is a joy to be had in the process and much pleasure to be enjoyed in the inevitable reactions from those who see your efforts.

So, rather than view this week’s challenge as a chore, make sure you enjoy the whole process.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? EXPLODE: Diarmuid’s mum’s balcony container
EXPLODE: Diarmuid’s mum’s balcony container
 ??  ?? BRIGHT Nasturtium
BRIGHT Nasturtium
 ??  ?? PRETTY IN PINK: Pelargoniu­m
COLOURFUL Diarmuid’s glorious pots
AROMATIC: Don’t forget lavender and herbs
PRETTY IN PINK: Pelargoniu­m COLOURFUL Diarmuid’s glorious pots AROMATIC: Don’t forget lavender and herbs

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