Already we’re seeing garden centres and supermarkets stacking up the bedding plants – and we cannot deny the allure of planting up pots, hanging baskets and planting borders with brightly coloured flowers this Easter.
So what’s the problem with bedding plants?
In short, they are really quite bad for the environment. Any nature and ecology-based landscape designer or architect will avoid designing in bedding plants to a planting scheme.
Most bedding plants are not native, so won’t survive our winters. This means they’ve been grown in large intensively heated greenhouses, using up water and electricity – which let’s face it, is not cheap!
They are sold in multi-packs which are not usually recyclable – and the retailers know that we’ll have to spend our money to replace them again next year. So I’m not a fan.
Instead of costly bedding plants, try planting self-seeding annuals (that will die every year but self-seed nearby) or flowering perennials (that come up every year).
Perennials that really work in your garden border are Verbena bonariensis; any variety of hardy geranium; Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ or Salvia ‘Amistad’ – all beloved of many garden designers for their colour and hardiness.
You could also sow wildflower mixes in the space that bedding plants might usually sit. Wait until the soil has warmed up a little, before clearing out the weeds, raking the area smooth and then sow a few packets for that wild tightly packed explosion of flowers later in the summer.
Pictured is a show garden from RHS Tatton 2016 featuring Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’; Achillea millefolium “terracotta”; Verbena bonariensis and Perovskia “Blue spire”
Rewilding garden in the sunshine
Last week’s mini-spring has really given everyone a boost and a little reminder of what it’s like to feel the sunshine on our faces. Many people have been out in their gardens as I’ve definitely had an increase in enquiries for garden design this week!
This is a design image of my Rewilding garden from RHS Tatton 2021 last July, with the sunshine beaming down upon it.
What have I been reading?
The RHS has launched a study to find out what type of hedges are best for tackling the climate crisis and pollution. I would always urge people to keep or plant a hedge for the many many benefits to wildlife.
The RHS study points out that most people just plant one monoculture of hedging plant, so are studying combination hedges to find out what additional benefits they offer.
This is a two year study, so I will await the results!