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Please help me. I'm shit at gardening and need beautiful window boxes by August.

(19 Posts)
ClartyYakker Mon 29-Dec-14 23:08:24

I'm having a 'garden' party in August (I use the term garden loosely, its a great big concrete yard with lots of outbuildings) and I need ideas for plants for containers, window boxes and hanging baskets that will smarten the place up a bit a lot and will be at their best in August. Ideally with some trailing elements in them too.

The location is fairly high up and in general things flower a week or so later than they do nearer sea level. Soil quality is great due to the amount of natural fertilizer available grin

Please can anyone help me with some ideas of what to grow and when?

PurpleWithRed Mon 29-Dec-14 23:10:30

Wait till the garden centres are full of summer bedding and do it then - no need to start thinking about it till April or May. In the meantime scour gardening mags for inspiration.

ClartyYakker Mon 29-Dec-14 23:15:29

Thanks, I'm just worried that bedding plants that look like they will be good in April/May will then turn out to be almost over by mid/end of August. I'm quite good at putting stuff that looks good together but not at knowing what will actually last.

For example I love sweetpeas and had thought I would just plant a load of those until someone told me they would be looking a bit raggedy/ be long finished by August blush

steppeupunderthemisletoe Mon 29-Dec-14 23:21:04

august is actually a difficult time for flowers. Best bet is to buy lots of bedding plants in about May/June, plant them close together, water with Miracle grow for 6 weeks, hey presto instant garden.

Suggestions would be petunias - very colourful and easy. You can get trailing ones for the hanging baskets. Geraniums (technically pelargoniums) are good too, can get trailing and upright.

It depends a bit on what you like, these are bright and cheerful, not very sophisticated. For ground level tubs, look for taller bedding plants for the centre. Choose a colour scheme and keep it simple, 2/3 colours eg purples and whites. Or yellows and reds. Or different colours in different areas, pinks round the door, grading to purples round the next corner and so on.

Some green bedding plants or silver leaved ones are good to intersperse, but the flowers will have green leaves too, so if you want colour, balance carefully.

About 10 days before the party, cut ALL the flowers off everything, and water with miracle grow, then you will have a lovely crop of new flowers

SisterMoonshine Mon 29-Dec-14 23:21:38

Sweet peas can flower until really late in the season.
Especially if you dead head them.
I think they would be a good idea.

steppeupunderthemisletoe Mon 29-Dec-14 23:22:26

sweetpeas are not good flowers for August, and they need more looking after than other bedding plants.

ClartyYakker Mon 29-Dec-14 23:31:09

I'm wanting sweet pea type colours, pastels really rather than hot pinks or bright yellows. It could also possibly work with something very simple like some sort of white flowering plant and a load of trailing greenery.

ClartyYakker Mon 29-Dec-14 23:33:10

steppeupunderthemisletoe cutting all the flowers off 10 days before fills me with terror Really!? confused

ClartyYakker Mon 29-Dec-14 23:36:03

ooooh I could definitely get away with a load of white petunias. That may just be the answer steppeupunderthemisletoe

steppeupunderthemisletoe Mon 29-Dec-14 23:54:49

petunias come in lots of colours. You could have all white and greenery. Or pale pinks and pale pale lilacs.

There are so many bedding plants out there, you just need to really hold off buying until the end of May. (too cold before then really, especially if you are colder)

There are a couple of very pretty trialing plants with more delicate tiny white all over flowers too. Lobelia is pretty if you can find just white (often comes in mixed packets)

Seriously, you need to chop off the flowers so they grow more that will be open on the day. Check weather, if cold forecast, do it 2 weeks ahead. If warm, 7-10 days. But you must feed and immediately and keep watering.

funnyperson Tue 30-Dec-14 06:54:04

I suppose it depends a bit on whether you want low growing/trailing plants and/or plants with a bit of height and width.
For example roses can look lovely in tubs, so can lavender and sage and thyme for scent and alliums and lily bulbs can be planted now for example. Gladioli can be planted a bit later and canna lilies too for a bit of oomph and height.
I guess the advice upthread cant really go wrong. If you go somewhere like b and q or the local garden centre 3 weeks before then you can get stuff in flower and plant it up in time to fill out the pots for the party.

OttiliaVonBCup Tue 30-Dec-14 07:17:17

I used some cerinthe major seeds in pits last year and they were very pretty.

Or nasturtiums? They do flower a lot. Geraniums are always good.
Verbenas as well.
I use a lit of mint and lemon balm in the pits as well, they add lots of gette and look pretty and fresh and smell nice.
If you deadhead and feed the pelargoniums thy will last for months.
Sweet peas will look straggly by August.

OttiliaVonBCup Tue 30-Dec-14 07:18:19

Agree with sage on pots, looks lovely.

OttiliaVonBCup Tue 30-Dec-14 07:19:09

Morning glory is beautiful on trellis.

steppeupunderthemisletoe Tue 30-Dec-14 12:59:32

I think you have to be clear with yourself about how good a gardener you are.
My mum would plant a grow lots of unusual and interesting stuff, she is a good gardener and it all seems to flower at the right time.
If you aren't, then lilies may flower 2 weeks early and then you have nothing left (for example), so you would be better off with 'safe' things like bedding plants.

aircooled Tue 30-Dec-14 21:45:54

My favourite plant for tubs in August is Salvia cacaliifolia. Bit of a mouthful and you might have to search for it but it produces lots of intense deep true blue flowers and has a lovely spreading rather than hanging habit, with heart-shaped leaves. Would look lovely with those white petunias. Definitely plan a colour scheme rather than have random combinations everywhere. Scented-leaf pelargoniums ('geraniums') are also good - the flowers aren't always the showiest but they will romp away in a warm summer with fantastic foliage. See Fibrex Nurseries. Better to use fewer large pots/containers rather than lots of small ones which will dry out too quickly. How lovely to be planning for August in the cold, dreary post Christmas lull. Isn't that what's great about gardening - always something to look forward to!

ClartyYakker Tue 30-Dec-14 23:26:40

wow some fantastic ideas thanks. I'm quite knowledgeable in some areas (mainly veg), but clearly lacking in others! I've never had to plant things to flower for a specific date and I've always been happy for stuff to be ready as and when it is ready so I've never paid too much attention to when things have flowered before, and I tend to sow/ plant things at random times on a hit and miss basis.

I'm very good at growing nasturtiums though. Can't get rid of the blimming things fast enough! grin

I've been browsing seeds and I love these but again, sadly it looks like they will be at their best too early.

FunkyBoldRibena Tue 30-Dec-14 23:38:16

Yes perennial poppies flower in May.

Although other poppies flower over a much longer season, for example welsh poppies i have still flowering today.

ClartyYakker Tue 30-Dec-14 23:57:40

grin these are perfect

please please don't tell me i'm barking up the wrong tree still

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