Year-round colour in the garden is oh so possible and only limited by available space and finances.
Summer is the easy bit in terms of plant availability, when a bewildering choice of bedding and container subjects are up for sale in every conceivable outlet.
The hardy annuals of summer come in handy seed packets, are sown March to April directly into a square metre patch of border, and fill it with bloom for weeks on end. These, and a selection of herbaceous perennials, go beyond mere visible treats in offering cut flowers for vases.
As autumn arrives, herbaceous plants are still playing their part, with michaelmas daisy, rudbeckia and sedum, but ornamental trees, shrubs and roses step into the limelight with an assortment of fruit, leaf and stem attractions, some of which will carry through winter.
Spring planning is under way now, with one of the main ingredients, cheerful flowering bulbs, in mind. If they’re planted over the next fortnight at the correct depth, circa twice their height below ground, there’s a good chance blooms will come. If December arrives and they’re still in the packet, don’t panic, get planting and at least they’ll grow, even offer surprise flowers, albeit a little later than expected.
Spring bedding plants such as wallflower and polyanthus are also going in now. So good were the vibrant array of colours that Polyanthus Stella Mixed gave us last spring that we saved all the plants in a spare raised bed over summer
Ideas for year-round garden colour can come from many sources, one of which is the talk on hardy plants by Christine Liddle, of Birkheads Secret Gardens, at Alnwick Garden Club in The Alnwick Garden Pavilion next Tuesday, at 7.30pm. Parking is in Greenwell Lane.