It’s Easter, spring has almost sprung, and that can only mean one thing: a trip to the garden centre. So what grand designs do you have for your garden and your hanging baskets or pots this year?
Easter weekend, and besides making my way through a mountain of chocolate and gorging on my mum’s roasted spring lamb and all the trimmings, I’ll inevitably be making my first visit of the year to a garden centre.
I’ve already booked a turfing company to sort out the area of mud that I once called a lawn, and I have grand designs to move several plants and then add a mulch to my borders, so my focus is now on my pots and hanging baskets.
With it still being so early in the season, it’s a little too soon to actually buy the summer bedding plants I intend to grow (sadly, I don’t have a greenhouse to protect them from late frosts). Instead, I’ll be buying new pots and baskets to replace those that haven’t made it through winter, and picking up a few bags of compost and controlled-release fertiliser in preparation.
In the main, though, I’ll be looking for inspiration. And with the garden centres chock-full of new stock, I’m sure I’ll find plenty.
In recent years, my pots and hanging baskets have been heavy on pelargoniums. Belonging to a gardening club where you can pick up five pelargonium plants for a fiver, it’s a no-brainer. Plus, they flower for most of the summer and tend to overwinter well in my garden.
But with the Beast from the East seeing off every single last one of them, I’m wondering if it’s time for a change this year.
Last summer, Which? Gardening trialled different plants and mixes of plants, specifically sold as being good for hanging baskets.
Among the Best Buy and Recommended varieties were a few Trixi plugs, available by mail order. These combine three plants in a single plug, are colour-coordinated and are designed to give you a perfectly balanced display.
Effectively, they do all the guesswork for you and, aside from planting them and watering regularly, are pretty hassle-free. I’ll definitely be using the long weekend to order some of these before they sell out: ‘Caribbean Crush’ – a combination of yellow osteospermum, pink verbena and purple petunia – sounds particularly colourful.
Then I’m thinking of trying out a few summer bulbs in the remaining pots and, more excitingly, experimenting with edibles in the other hanging baskets. These would include herbs, and fruit and veg specifically designed for growing in hanging baskets, such as Tomato ‘Tumbler’ (a member trial plant) and climbing strawberries.
There won’t be a pelargonium in sight. Well, perhaps just a few…
Are you planning to hit the garden centre this Easter? What will you be growing in your hanging baskets and pots this year?