IT might not seem like it with the recent weather, but we should be busy now planting out our bedding plants to bring our gardens to life with big splashes of colour.

Before we set off for the garden centre it is a good idea to prepare areas that are going to become main the main planted areas for bedding in time to plant the summer flowering plants.

If you are planting in to soil it is important to dig the soil over, this helps to aerate the soil and provide a good tilth of soil for the new plants to grow in. At this time of year single digging should be enough to provide a good bed of soil, this involves digging a spade depth and turning the soil over.

It may be surprising even after our nice dry spell that the soil at that depth will still be wet and when in this condition can often stick together, when it is in this condition it would not be ideal for planting bedding plants in to therefore a little effort is required to prepare for plants.

While the weather is hot and dry if the soil is turned and left to dry. Once the soil has been left to dry it can be raked over a few times, ensuring any weeds are removed. It is important to gently firm with your heel otherwise if rain or water falls on loose soil it can make the soil very difficult to dry again or firm, the timing of this is important.

It may be necessary to add some planting compost to the soil if required. Once the firming process has been completed then it is time to choose the plants you would like for the garden. There are different types available depending on the space available. A centre plant or dot plant is often a good starting point, this can be a small conifer or cordyline that is available in thin or broad leaf types and in various colours.

The main bedding can be made up of various colours. The geranium plant is probably the most common bedding plant with the most common colours of white, pink and red flowers, geranium is a good plant with a deep green leaf that if planted four to six inches apart and encouraged to grow strong the leaf coverage can keep weeding to a minimum.

Begonias are another bedding favourite and once again available in various colours. Impatiens or commonly known ‘busy lizzie’ is a good plant to give non stop colour as is antirrhinum known as snap dragon due to its mouth like flower types. If you like an edging plant around the edge then plants such as alyssum or lobelia allow you to bring the colour close to the border edge. It is an idea to soak the plants in a bucket before planting especially if the weather remains dry. Once planted it is important to keep moist and not allow summer bedding to dry out as this will stunt the plant and damages the plant’s ability to flower. A light fertiliser can either be applied by granule or liquid watering or hose end applicator.