If you would like to have a go at creating a bedding display at home here are the basic principles:
- Bedding plants are the glamour plants of the gardening world and like to be treated as such, so before planting dig over the soil thoroughly, ideally incorporate some compost, then fork in a slow-release fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone.
- Rake the soil surface level and to a reasonably fine tilth, this will ensure your growing plants have an even appearance. Formality and uniformity is the name of the game with bedding.
- Bedding plants like sun so, when designing your bed, use the principle of small plants at the front and larger plants in the middle (for a bed surrounded by lawn or paths) or tall plants at the back if the bed is against a wall. For a simple design you need a low edging plant, a taller plant to form the main bulk of your display and dot plants which will stand proud of the rest to make focal points or to add opulence.
- For edging, try white alyssum or blue lobelia (old favourites, but maybe a bit clichéd), sprawling yellow Bidens ferulifolia or foliage plants such as silver-leaved cineraria or multi-coloured coleus (small varieties).
- There is a plethora of choice for the main display. Antirrhinum, nicotiana, bedding salvias, French or African marigolds and pelargoniums are all good do’ers. As for dot plants, think of tropical-looking cannas, kochia (burning bush), purple millet grass or even lollipop roses or fuchsias.
- If you want to be more adventurous add more layers to the design, such as a second row of edging plants just inside the first or have taller plants in the centre of the bed around your dot plants. Cleome and Verbena bonariensis are useful for this purpose.
How to plant
- Use your trowel as a measure; take the length of the trowel blade as a short measure (approximately 6in) for spacing out smaller edging plants and the full length of the trowel (approximately 10in) as the spacing for everything else.
- Dot plants are the first to go in. Measure their position accurately – if you have one dot plant in the middle of your bed make sure it is in the middle.
- Next, plant the edging. Plants should be in a straight line or, if the bed is curved, an even distance from the edge. Rather than a string line, use your trowel to measure the distance from the edge of the bed to where you should be planting as well as the distance between the plants.
- Once dot and edging plants are planted, fill the remaining space with your main display. There are two schools of thought, either plant randomly or very uniformly, either way is fine. Plant so the soil surface of the pot is at the same level or fractionally beneath the soil when planted. Firm in by hand as you go.
Finally, water well to settle the plants in. To keep the display looking good, water if the weather turns dry and dead head spent flowers.