Spring supplies our gardens with some beautiful colours, but with the weather being as it has been, we’ve not had much time to enjoy it. The next few weeks are crucial in the gardener’s calendar to get set for summer and ensure there’s plenty of colour for when we finally get some sunshine!
Firstly it’s good to know your annuals from your biennials and perennials. It’s terribly sad if you are expecting something to come up and it doesn’t show!
Annuals grow, flower and seed for one year. They provide a wonderful display of colour, which is relatively short lived but will last longer if you dead head and feed them through the summer season. These are good options if you are in need of some instant colour and are great in pots, baskets and your borders.
Petunias, Busy Lizzies, Marigolds, Calendula, Zinnia.
To make these more cost effective, you can always take some of the seeds and have them for next year.
Biennials last two years. They are grown from seed in the first year and put on roots, developing the plant. They flower in the second year and then die, never to return! Some have varieties that will last longer than the two year cycle. If you want to plan for next year's display, now is a good time to sow the seeds and then transplant the young plants in the Autumn to their final flowering places.
Hollyhocks, Foxgloves, Sweet Williams, Canterbury Bells, Forget Me Nots and Wallflowers. All are well known in the traditional Cottage Garden.
Perennials are those plants that last longer than two years and will flower for years to come, once established and planted in the right place. They are initially more expensive, but as they last for years they are more economic in the long run as you won’t need new ones every year. Many of them thrive from being split, which creates even more plants to fill your garden or pass on to friends.
Phlox, Lavender, Campanula, Agapanthus, Alstroemeria, Asters including the beautiful Michaelmas Daisies which flower later in the year, Astilbe, Bearded Iris, Bergenia, Buddleia, Poppies, Pinks, Peonies, Crocosmia, Cranesbill (geraniums), Delphinium, Day Lily, Goldenrod, Hellebore, Red Hot Poker, Lupin, Osteospermum, Penstemon and Scabious to name a few.
Now is a good time to invest in perennials and get them established. They will take a while to settle in, so be prepared that they may not give you the desired display you hope for in their first year.
A combination of all three will not only give you colour this summer, but will ensure you have some pretty flowers to look forward to next year as well.