A glorious summer garden. Sitting here in the depths of winter it feels a long way off, doesn’t it?
Planning for your summer garden by sowing seeds and introducing plants at this time of year may sound a little hasty, but it really isn’t too early to make a start. It’s actually very sensible to start planning your borders now, because doing so will give you plenty of time to grow a large proportion of plants yourself and save you lots of money – as well as being a great way to get outside and do some gardening.
Homebase have a great range of seeds which you can sow right now that will give you a wonderful display of flowers in late spring and summer. They also have some lovely shrubs and plants that you can establish now so that they are ready to flourish when the warmer months arrive. Here’s some inspiration on what to plant now for a fantastic summer garden.
Sweet peas are a must if it’s the cottage-garden look you’re going for, and they also make lovely cut flowers. Sweet peas are great seeds for children to grow too; the seeds are easy to handle, obligingly easy to grow and happy with heavy-handed watering. Sowing them indoors now will give you strong, healthy plants when it’s time to plant them out in spring.
I have a real soft spot for Lobelia, it takes me right back to watering my grandma’s garden containers when I was little. I love the way their tiny flowers in cool blue and purple hues give a frothy, delicate feel to containers, and you can add extra impact with the foliage if you choose a variety like Crystal Palace. There are also trailing varieties of Lobelia, which are great for hanging baskets.
With their delicate, silky petals and masses of blooms, Poppies are fantastic for adding texture and movement to your garden. I particularly like the Icelandic varieties; they’re quite compact at around 45cm tall, making them a great option for containers and smaller beds, as well as cut flowers.
There are so many great reasons to grow Nasturtiums; they’re super-easy to grow, they love poor soil, they will climb or trail, and as well as looking wonderful the flowers are edible. A great option for introducing children to gardening.
Aquliegias are brilliant for an early Summer display. I love their delicate flowers and a mixed pack will give you lots of variety. Aquliegias are renowned for self-seeding, and will happily provide you with lots of new plants for absolutely no effort!
Snapdragons (also known as Antirrhinums) are a big hit with children – the cute flowers look like little snapping beaks – but they’re also a versatile bedding plant that’s easy to grow from seed. They’re quite an old-fashioned flower and suit cottage garden schemes well, but they’re also a great choice for a cutting garden.
Who doesn’t love daisies? Shasta Daisies are tall at around 90cm and they make a great cut flower, as well as providing real structure to a border. Beneficial pollinating insects will love this plant too, so if you have a wildlife area in your garden this is a great variety to introduce.
Pansies are such hardworking plants; they flower forever and are great for containers as well as filling gaps in borders. If I can find them I go for a mix of cool shades, they look fantastic as the light fades on a summer’s evening.
If it’s impact and height you want, then Monarda (also known as Bergamot) is a great choice. Monarda flowers right through the summer into autumn, and works well at the back of a mixed flower border. It’s a fantastic plant for pollinating insects too.
Now is a great time to plant bare-root Roses; they are in a dormant state at this time of year, and planting them now allows them to get established before the growing season. Tick this job off the list in winter and you’ll be enjoying a fabulous display of flowers from late spring.
Evergreen Azaleas are really hardy and can be planted out now. They’re compact and work well in containers or the front of a border, where they will retain their leaves all year round and give you a gorgeous display of flowers in spring. Many varieties also have great colour in autumn too.
I’ve picked my favourites here, but there are many more plants that you can sow or introduce now for a gorgeous summer garden. When you’ve made your selection, be sure to check the planting instructions on the packet or label; at this time of year some seeds need to be sown indoors and given protection until the risk of frost has passed. And if you need more inspiration take a look at my list of great summer plants for pots.
What are you planting this month?
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