Summer bedding is such a labour of love

Plug trays.
Plug trays.

Raising summer bedding plants from seed used to be a labour of love; starting with clean receptacles, assembling compost and related tools, then getting down to sowing. Heat was required for a successful germination and the pricking-out of seedlings followed in turn. This was and remains costly in terms of both time and money but is none-the-less satisfying. Although you can still find a few trays of favourite ornamental plants raised from seed in the greenhouse, I now grow far more from plugs.

Heat was required for a successful germination and the pricking-out of seedlings followed in turn.

Seedlings are costly to raise.

Seedlings are costly to raise.

This was and remains costly in terms of both time and money but is none-the-less satisfying.

Although you can still find a few trays of favourite ornamental plants raised from seed in the greenhouse, I now grow far more from plugs.

This has reduced the heating bill because the young plants arrive ready to pot up in late March.

By this time, it is becoming possible to balance solar heat along with protective fleece and build up a head of greenhouse warmth that will carry the young plants safely through the night.

Order your plug plants early to secure favourite varieties, otherwise anticipate displays at the garden centre.

Suttons are off the mark with an offer that looks interesting - a 45-plug pack of bedding plants for £5.99.

Buy two packs and the third is free. There are several plant choices on a pick-and-mix basis.

If you enjoy growing antirrhinum, impatiens, petunia, salvia, cineraria, stocks, gazania or trailing lobelia Cascade Mix, they’re all in there!

All retail outlets tend to struggle a little after Christmas. This is why we see Sale notices.

Gardeners can benefit from it by simply visiting their local plant outlet in search of bargains!

Footnote: Alnwick Garden Club returns next Tuesday at 7.30pm in the Town Hall with topical tips and demonstrations from Kathleen, David and Tom. All are welcome.