Time to snap up your bedding plants

TALK of climate change is common place now and regardless of whether you agree with it or not, the gardening season has undergone a shift in the last decade or two.

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Here at Cardwell Garden Centre, April used to signify the beginning of the summer bedding plant season in earnest.

Now it is fairly normal to have widespread frost throughout April, which delays the bedding season by another month.

By mid May, the threat of frost has surely passed in all but the most secluded of areas and us gardeners can get started on bringing the mass of colour to the garden that summer bedding plants promise.

Don't be put off by all the different kinds of bedding plant, just buy the ones you like.

Almost all bedding plants like the same conditions and can be planted in any combination you like.

If you are planting in containers or hanging baskets you should always use fresh compost.

Discard the old compost or use it to top up other beds and borders.

You can now buy compost that already contains fertiliser, like Miracle Gro, and this will look after your plants for the few first months, but you will still have to water them. By the way, rain doesn't count as watering, especially in containers and ­baskets.

I would recommend buying your bedding plants from a good garden centre, especially the local independents like us.

We know quality counts and will take a great pride in where the plants come from, making sure that they are ready to plant out.

Many chain stores will buy the cheapest plants they can and while they look okay they may not be up to Scottish weather.

If you are going to spend money on plants, you want to make sure they last for the whole summer, adding as much colour as possible to your garden.

Weeds are having a ball at the moment.

The hot and often wet weather is ideal for them and if you don't tackle them they can quickly take over and smother your existing plants or lawn.

I have a few customers at Cardwell that don't want to use chemicals in the garden, either because they worry about animals or because they want to be organic.

You can remove weeds with hand tools, but you should be aware that many weeds will grow back unless you can remove every part of the root system.

It is not likely you will get it all, so be prepared to keep removing the weeds.

As for animals, most of today's common weedkillers are perfectly safe to all animals once they have dried.

By following the guides on the packaging and by using common sense you can stay safe and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Home and Garden

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