Lars Lund

08 Sep 2020 14:34

Grow Summer Flowers

Written by Lars Lund 

Edited by Louise Curley

Home grown blooms perfect for a vase

Annuals – plants that are sown, flower, set seed and die in less than a year – are brilliant for adding masses of colour to the summer garden. They’re easy to grow, relatively inexpensive and very versatile plants. They can be grown in borders and containers and many are fabulous for wildlife, providing pollen and nectar for pollinating insects. There are some annuals which are climbers, and these are fabulous for adding fast-growing height to borders or if you want to screen an ugly building. Some annuals, such as sweet peas and night-scented stock, have intoxicating scents that fill the air.

Perhaps the best thing about annuals is that they’ll keep on producing flowers all summer as long as they aren’t allowed to go to seed, which does mean you need to keep on top of deadheading.

Hardy annuals can be sown between March and May and most half-hardy annuals are sown between April and June (there are a couple of half-hardy annuals which need a long growing season, so they need to be sown in February or March).

It’s best to sow hardy annuals indoors in March, but once you start to see weeds germinating in your borders that’s a good sign that the soil is warm enough for annuals to be sown direct into the ground.

Half-hardy annuals need protecting from frost, so these need to be grown indoors initially, then planted outside in late May, when the danger of frost has passed.

You can also look to bulbs and tubers to provide summer flowers, such as chocolate cosmos and dahlias. You can buy summer-flowering bulbs and tubers from late winter through to mid-spring. These plants are tender and need protecting from frost, so pot them up and keep them in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill until June. But if you don’t have space to do this, it’s also possible to buy these as ready potted plants from garden centres in late spring and summer.