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Bedding plants for beginners...

KCMM09KCMM09 Posts: 74
I have sleepers in my garden, with established shrubs within this and spaces in between. I have only ever planted shrubs and was wondering.. 
Can I simply put bedding plants / annuals etc? around and in between the shrubs for a fuller and more colourful effect for spring summer? I'm not thinking bulbs, just buying packs of the bedding plants and putting them in between? 

Any advice I'd be keen to know more. Cost-effective solutions also welcomed as flowers that I can get the most out of I'd welcome. 

Hope this makes sense.


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,016
    If there is space between the shrubs to allow plants to grow you can of course fill it with annual bedding plants if you first hoe the soil, remove weeds and, maybe, add a bit of slow release fertiliser and some garden compost to improve soil condition.

    If you choose the ones best suited to the soil and aspect and keep them watered while they settle and during hot and dry spells you should get a good display but do beware of buying and planting half-hardy annuals before the last frosts as they won't do well.

    However, you can spend a bit more money and the same effort and have perennials that will come back year after year and just need an occasional tidying up and cutting back.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • KCMM09KCMM09 Posts: 74
    Thank you both for your replies so far, this is really helpful information! 
    So can I clarify that so long as I renew my soil etc like I planned to, these additions wont inhibit the growth of the shrubs already in the sleepers? 

    I also use bark/mulch, can I continue to use this? Thanks again!
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,016
    Annuals will not provide competition for nutrients or water in amounts that will upset the shrubs whose roots will go a lot deeper to find water.  Feeder roots tend to be fibrous and near the surface so you might want to scatter on some pelleted chicken manure or slow release rose fertiliser for the shrubs.

    Scrape off the chipped bark, do what you have to do to get the annuals planted and watered in and then gently put the bark back around them.

    You should find, especially at Easter, that GCs and supermarkets will have trays of bedding plants.  Buy them when they're fresh and there's still plenty of choice and then water them, pot them into small pots to grow on and keep them sheltered in a light place till frosts are over in May.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • KCMM09KCMM09 Posts: 74
    @Obelixx thanks so much! I can’t wait to get started now ! You’ve been very helpful thanks :) 
  • Might I suggest plants that self seed. Things like Aquilegia and Marigolds both do, and between the two will cover from April to September,  allowing you to add more summer bedding at the end of May for a short display. 😀
  • KCMM09KCMM09 Posts: 74
    Thank you @purplerallim :smile:
  • How's this for value for money: alongside a few perennials last year I bought a single tray of 6 pansies to fill an empty spot in the garden. I hadn't learnt to dead-head back then, so I think those pansies set seed and produced some wild violets which I found as I was weeding, and I dug them up and moved them to decorate a path. They grew on through the year, and then in the autumn I harvested some seed, which is now growing on my windowsill :-D

    I'm getting more into annuals this year to fill the gaps between the perennials, and personally I like the idea of having a bit of a mix there because it will mean I can change things round in different years. And it's good to hear that annuals and perennials don't compete too much, though I would have assumed that anyway
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