Summer bedding can be planted outside from the end of May onwards, so long as we aren’t getting any late frosts. Antirrhinums, asters and lobelia first, leaving marigolds, begonias, impatiens and geraniums until the beginning of June if necessary. Water well to get established, then feed fortnightly and dead-head regularly. This year we’re growing a batch of the new Beacon Impatiens, which isn’t affected by downy mildew. Supplies may be limited, but it should be well worth trying.
Start making up hanging baskets and tubs, but don’t leave them outside at night until the beginning of June, as a late frost will spoil them. Use a good multipurpose or tub and basket compost that has added moisture control and slow-release fertiliser. Once planted they can be stood outside if we get a nice warm day, but bring them inside at night. Don’t be tempted to put them in a dark garage or shed as they need good light levels at the moment to get established. Water regularly – every day when the sun starts shining and feed weekly with a plant food such as Miracle Grow All Purpose or Phostrogen. Don’t forget to dead-head often and your plants will give colour right through to the autumn.