In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.
There's always enough time to plant summer flowering bulbs to create a superb show of dramatic colour. Here is a selection of Nathan James Dodd's favourites among the many that are available from your Garden Centre.
Bulbs, corms and tubers can be planted in most kinds of soil, and that includes flower beds and planters, all that's required is good drainage so that they don't rot. If you have heavy soil, introduce grit to lessen the chances of waterlogging.
There are various planting depths, but generally this is twice or three times as deep as the bulb's size with their tip pointing up. After flowering apply some potash or liquid feed if they are in containers, and allow the foliage to die down naturally.
Fiery red and orange flowers, and slim sharp foliage are the trademarks of these easy to grow and fast to multiply bulbs. They look great when adding vibrancy to any location.
This lily has the most flamboyant flowers that are large crimson, pink, yellow and white bursting stars. Many are scented and they make perfect cut flowers.
Why these are judged by some to be old fashioned is beyond me. Marvellous as a cut flower, a multitude of lovely blooms line the flower spikes. Mulch for protection over the winter.
When planting begonias the top of the corm should be level with the soil/compost surface. Excellent for window boxes, containers and hanging baskets, they will flower fragrantly well into the late summer/early autumn when the tubers should be lifted and stored.
These are very useful flowers for both a bed or container, and can tolerate dry weather. There are many different forms and colours, and they are easy to grow in full sun. Tubers should be lifted and stored in the autumn.
Boasting magnificent colour, cannas also have terrifically lush foliage. Plant rhizones in a warm environment during April with any shoots exposed, they are quite easy to grow in sunny or half shded positions and make tremendous container plants.
In order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our wildlife, there's a selection of habitats and boxes you can purchase that are specifically designed to attract various small animals and insects to your garden. Here we look at some of the products available which also make unusual and very engaging gifts.
With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.
As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.