Decoration, Flowers, Gardening, How To, Planting, Plants, Watering

How to Choose and Care for Bedding Plants

Bedding plants are a wonderful way to add liveliness to your garden and make it your own. They can transform beds with their differing colours, and will help support our precious pollinators. With so many bedding plants to choose from, you may feel unsure of where to begin; read on for all of the advice you need for choosing and caring for your bedding plants.

What is a Bedding Plant?

A bedding plant can be an annual, biennial, or tender perennial, that is planted into a flower bed to build a seasonal arrangement. After a bedding plant’s season of interest has ended, they will likely be replaced by another plant, and put away or discarded. 

Bedding plants will happily grow in hanging baskets, pots, and raised beds. They are therefore suitable for all forms of outdoor space, ranging from a small balcony, to vast grounds.  

How do I Choose the Right Bedding Plant?

Before identifying the best bedding plants for your garden, pay close attention to your chosen location, and perhaps ask the following questions: 

  • How many hours of direct sun does the location receive per day?
  • Are there deciduous trees that might limit sunlight come spring?
  • What is the state of the soil? Is it damp? Are there lots of stones?

Our guide below will help you decide what degree of shade your location receives:

Preparing your Soil

If you are planting into your garden’s beds, carefully rake through the soil to remove stones and large clods. This will make sure that evaporation isn’t prevented, and a good amount of moisture is kept.

Whether you are planting in pots, raised beds, baskets, or directly into a flower bed, you should always opt for multi-purpose compost. Multi-purpose compost will form a nutrient rich environment for a range of bedding plants, and will also absorb and retain moisture.

What Colours Should I Choose?

Before deciding which colour scheme to embrace, consider how intricate you want your display to be. Mostly done professionally, carpet bedding requires a large range of shades to be planted closely together, however, a simple hanging basket will look beautiful with as little as one variety. For a flower bed, we recommend that you choose four varieties for each season.

Cool Colour Schemes

How to Choose and Care for Bedding Plants

If you wish to evoke a tranquil atmosphere, light blue, lilac, pastel yellow, and white are excellent for doing so. Paler Petunia varieties, such as ‘Blue Vein’ or ‘Beautiful French Vanilla’, can feature subtle, darker markings, which can help break up your colour scheme, without drawing focus away from other plants.

Warm Colour Schemes

How to Choose and Care for Bedding Plants

For a bold colour scheme, choose shades that lie opposite to one another on the colour wheel. Possible pairings include purple and yellow, red and green, and blue and orange. Presenting trailing, funnel-shaped blooms, Surfinias are available in an array of colours, so will make an unfailing choice for your garden.

Should I Buy Plug Plants or Seeds?

Seeds and plug plants each come with their positives and negatives. Seeds can be considerably cheaper than plug plants, yet they are harder to grow. They require more time and care, and unfortunately germination isn’t guaranteed. 

Unlike seeds, plug plants can be expensive; this particularly applies to larger plants, as their roots are more established. However, plug plants can fill a flower bed with pretty blooms within a matter of weeks; making them a convenient option. 

How do I Grow Bedding Plants from Seed?

To successfully grow bedding plants from seed, you will need 10cm pots, peat-free compost, bedding seeds of your choosing, and vermiculite or finely sieved compost.

  • Fill each pot with your compost, and delicately pat it down.
  • Sow your seeds over the compost, ensuring that they are distanced equally. 
  • Apply a layer of finely sieved compost or vermiculite. This will provide gentle cover for your seeds.
  • Label your pots so you can cater to any unique requirements that a variety might have. 
  • Once each pot has had a nourishing drink, place them into a heated propagator to allow germination.
  • When seedlings have developed, prick out those of the largest size, and re-plant into individual containers.

How do I Grow Potted Bedding Plants?

If the risk of frost has passed, larger plugs can be planted straight into your garden. To ensure continued growing, smaller plug plants should be re-planted into containers or pots. For this you will need a pencil, multi-purpose compost, perlite, a dibber, and 7- 8cm pots. 

  • To remove your bedding plants from their containers, carefully push them upwards from their base with a pencil.
  • Fill 7 – 8cm pots with a mix of multi-purpose compost and perlite.
  • Employing a dibber, make a hole in each pot that slightly exceeds the size of your plants.
  • Taking great care, tease out your plants’ roots, and then place them into their holes.

How do I Care for my Bedding Plants?

  • Watering: If your bedding plants are in pots or baskets, they will benefit from daily watering. Even on a rainy day, this advice still applies; a bedding plant’s foliage can provide impressive shelter. For flower beds, a weekly drink will be sufficient. 
  • Deadheading: Any flowers that appear spent should be removed from their base. This will stop your plant from wasting energy by producing seeds. 
  • Flower feed: Supplement one watering a week with a potassium-rich feed. Most composts contain a finite amount of food, so we recommend that you start using feed a month after they were planted out. 
Gardening, How To, Plants

How to Enhance a Small Garden with Plants

Returning every year with pretty floral displays, planting a mix of perennials is a simple way to enhance a smaller garden with beautiful colours, shapes, and movements. Recognising what to plant in a small garden can be difficult when space is limited, so every unused corner counts. Read on for some simple ideas on how to improve a small garden with perennials. 

Hanging Baskets

How to Enhance a Small Garden With Perennials

Perfect for ornamenting the outside of your home, a hanging basket filled with pretty, trailing blooms will draw attention away from the size of your garden, and will not take up its valuable floorspace.

Trailing flowers can additionally  soften harsh walls, and create a charmingly rustic feel. Versatile, and able to complement any backdrop, plants with white flowers are a good choice if you are unsure on which colour scheme to adopt.

Using Blue Perennials

Another useful tip is to incorporate blue within your hanging baskets. Blue will brighten shaded corners, and will prove a particularly good accompaniment to grey. As such, if your patio or driveway includes grey, the use of blue-flowered varieties will create enviable harmony of cooler tones. 

A hardy campanula, ‘Blue Sky’ will form a generous blanket of stellate-shaped, blue flowers come summer. This perennial’s neat, compact habit makes it a manageable choice, where it will happily grow in both full sun or partial shade.

Pots

Enhancing Limited Outdoor Space with Perennials

Planting perennials in pots is another excellent way to adorn your small garden, without worrying about them growing too large. This approach also allows  more freedom over your plant’s location,  aspect, and soil.

To keep your perennials small, divide them every two seasons, and re-plant accordingly. Your new plants will make appreciated gifts for fellow gardeners. 

Pots are also a wonderful opportunity to experiment with fun colour combinations, and the widely loved Dianthus is one of the best perennials for doing so. Pinks will thrive in sunny spots, and flower all summer long. They also offer divine scents; if you prefer spiced fragrances, we suggest ‘Memories’, or if you enjoy sweeter smells, opt for ‘Tickled Pink’. 

For an innovative, modern touch, why not try planting a taller perennial? Long stems paired with sumptuous flowers will establish beautiful structure, and can help deflect from an unsightly fence or wall. Each boasting tall silhouettes, embellished by intricate purple flowers,  Allium, Agapanthus, and Salvia varieties are excellent for making a statement.  

Raised Beds

Enhancing Limited Outdoor Space with Perennials

Just like containers, raised beds allow you  greater control over a perennial’s environment. They can also create differing structural effects. For example, they can separate your garden from the street, and bring a flair to a basic garden design.

Embrace a multitude of colours by planting a variation of perennials, such as Lavender and Alchemilla. Alchemilla will blend beautifully amongst other plants, and aside from being loved by pollinators, Lavender offers a delightful fragrance that will be relished by guests.  

Planting in Drifts

Enhancing Limited Outdoor Space with Perennials

To soften the difference in height between your garden’s ground and fence,  why not plant your favorite perennials in small drifts? Planting in drifts can create an accomplished look comparable to a wild garden. Nevertheless, be mindful that some perennials may grow quickly, infringing on your garden’s space.

To make drifts, plant several perennials of the same variety in long streaks. It does not matter whether they are vertically or horizontally positioned. The smaller the perennial’s eventual size, the more of them you can plant. 

The smaller the border, the less perennials you need; try Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Salvia ‘Ostriesland’, and Allium ‘christophii’. When individually planted in little drifts, they will create long-flowering border filled with romantic colour.  Being patient, observe your border over time, and fill any sparser areas with new, compatible additions. 

 

Flowers, Gardening, How To, Planting, Plants, Uncategorized

Often found flourishing in the midst of a sunny border, finding the perfect perennials to plant in the darker corners of your garden can require a little more thinking. Read on for eight of our favourite, shade-loving perennials.

Each perennial advertised is potted, enabling you to plant them directly into your garden, and enjoy a beautiful display merely a matter of weeks later.

Perennials for Deep Shade

Deep shade exists when walls or trees shelter the ground from sunlight for the majority of the day.  

The Best Perennials for Shade

Polemonium ‘Northern Lights’

A good styling tip for your garden’s darker corners is to incorporate some light blue flowers; light blue is wonderful for bringing brightness to spaces lacking in colour. Polemonium ‘Northern Lights’ is particularly ideal for this, as this variety will introduce these delicate blue tones, yet will thrive in shade and tolerate most soils. The golden staminodes offset beautifully against each petal, and the ladder-like stems act as a platform from which each flower can project; creating excellent structure.

Hosta ‘Snake Eyes’

Aside from boasting beautiful greenery, hostas will relish the shade. A useful guide to follow is that the darker the hosta’s foliage, the darker its location can be. With each leaf sporting a deep, muted green shade, and a variegated, emerald centre, ‘Snake Eyes’ will add a unique edge to shaded areas. 

Belonging to the lily family, hostas are suited to damp conditions, so this variety will thrive in a bog garden.

Perennials for Dappled Shade

Dappled shade is created when trees and shrubs partially block sunlight via their leaves, resulting in small speckles of sun reaching the ground.

The Best Perennials for Shade

Campanula ‘’Iridescent Bells’

Bearing pale lilac, trumpet-shaped flowers that gracefully nod from their delicate stems, this campanula variety will add charming movement and shapes to spaces shadowed by trees and shrubs.

If the planting location you have in mind presently has no other perennials, the tall height of this campanula will effortlessly forge beautiful structure, making this plant a clever choice.

The Best Perennials for Shade

Geum ‘Mai Tai’

Bearing sumptuous, apricot-toned blooms, Geum ‘Mai Tai’ will grace your garden with subtle hints of peach, bronze, and yellow; perfect for adding some summary warmth to the shadier spots of your garden.

Perennials for Partial Shade

The Best Perennials for Shade

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’

A great way to bring a touch of radiance to darker corners is to use white and yellow; these shades will also evoke a calming feel with your garden. Sporting crisp white petals that harmonise with the yellow stamens they encircle, ‘Wild Swan’ will appear radiant in the sun, and will illuminate your garden’s shaded corners. 

With a lengthy flowering period spanning from May through to November, this Anemone will prove an unfailing perennial for your garden.

The Best Perennials for Shade

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’

Relishing shaded areas, and each presenting unique foliage, brunneras are a wonderful choice areas receiving partial shade. 

Just like ‘Wild Swan’, this beautiful brunnera will shine under the sun, yet bring lustre to shadier spots. A rosette of large, heart-shaped leaves will rest not far above the ground, and during spring, delicate purple blooms will emerge. Nevertheless, ‘Jack Frost’ owes its commended distinctiveness to its stunning silver sheen, decorated by intricate, muted green veins.

The Best Perennials for Shade

Dianthus ‘Memories’ 

If you are seeking to add a luxurious touch to shaded corners, pale, ruffled blooms will create graceful silhouettes and movements within your garden. Free-flowering, and offering a spiced fragrance, Dianthus ‘Memories’ will ornament darker spaces with white double flowers, and will happily grow within a container.

 

Container Gardening, Gardening, How To, Planting, Plants, Watering

An Essential Guide to Geranium Care

A popular choice amongst both inexperienced and highly skilled gardeners, the geranium is hardy and blooms abundantly. In return for their dazzling displays they have simple requirements, namely frequent waterings, a generous degree of sun exposure, and nutrient-rich soil.

Are geraniums the same as pelargoniums?

Although widely referred to as ‘Geraniums’, ivy, regal, and scented geraniums are actually pelargoniums. Due to their similar appearance, they were initially held to belong to the same genus as the hardy geraniums already present in Europe. This decision was reversed when distinct characteristics were identified in the former plant. 

Are geraniums perennials or annuals?

Commonly referred to as a ‘Cranesbill’, geraniums are perennials, and will hence reemerge from the ground every spring  after a period of dormancy.  Pelargoniums comprise of annuals, and therefore live for only one year.  If you enjoy experimenting with unique yearly displays (with hanging baskets for example), this shorter lifespan may be ideal. 

The care information detailed within this post will focus on geraniums, however, this is not to say that this information should be rendered  inapplicable to pelargoniums; both the sunlight and watering advice is still relevant. 

What is the Best Soil for my Geranium?

An Essential Guide to Geranium Care

If you are planting directly into your garden’s beds,  loose and crumbly, well-drained soil will help ensure a flourishing geranium. If you are planting your geranium into a pot, mix high-quality potting soil and compost together, and add this mixture to a pot equipped with drainage holes.

Mulching

A geranium’s soil should ideally be rich in organic matter; this can be achieved by mulching their soil annually with leaf mould, rotted compost, or manure. Biodegradable mulching will steadily release nutrients into your garden’s soil, and further improve its composition. We recommend that you mulch the entirety of your beds and borders, preferably after weeds have been fully removed, and when their soil is moist. The optimal seasons to do so are spring and autumn; in summer, your garden’s soil may be too dry, and in winter, it will be too cold. 

Once you have gathered your mulch, surround your geraniums with a layer that is between two and three inches thick. Importantly, you must not add a new layer of mulch until the existing layer has fully rotted away, as this could hinder the amount of water that your plants receive. 

What is the Best Watering Routine for my Geranium?

An Essential Guide to Geranium Care

Geraniums will relish moist soil, however, like most perennials, they can fall victim to rotting if they are watered too generously. If your geranium’s soil still feels damp to the touch near to two days after watering, it is probable that they are being overwatered. 

Soil within containers will retain less water than your garden’s borders and beds, so water accordingly; ideally once every few days.

Why have my geranium’s leaves turned yellow?

Additional signs of overwatering consist of yellowed foliage and dropping flowers, however, if you follow the aforementioned steps, no damage should arise to this extent.

Geraniums are more likely to recover from underwatering, as opposed to overwatering…

How do I protect my geranium from heavy rainfall?

As careful as we try to be in terms of watering our geraniums, the weather isn’t something that we can quite control.  In the unfortunate instance of heavy rainfall, try to relocate your container-grown geraniums to a sheltered area (a greenhouse or shed). For geraniums that have been planted in your gardens’s beds, there is unfortunately little you can do.  Nevertheless, mulching will mitigate the risks of damage, and covering your geranium with a large pot or bucket will provide protection from strong winds (you can use bricks or stones to keep them weighed down)

How Much Sunlight is Best for my Geranium?

An Essential Guide to Geranium Care

In order to bear the most sumptuous blooms, geraniums should receive full sun for four to six hours a day. A reliable guide is to plant in a location that experiences full sun from morning through to noon, and shade later in the day (shade should preferably be light however).

What is the best geranium for shade?

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ will flower prolifically in more shaded areas, making a welcome exception to this traditional rule. This variety will form violet-purple, saucer-shaped flowers, which complement their delicate, muted green foliage. Rozanne can be ordered here.

An Essential Guide to Geranium Care