Our garden has been neglected for the last 2-3 years and I really want to plant something. I have never gardened in any form before! (DH has done it all and is a bit of a control freak and I'd like to surprise him especially as he thinks I'm not capable). Can you please recommend something simple to plant to add some colour to flower beds, some for the front of the house and some for the back? We have daffodils at the front currently and lots of gaps in the flower beds at the back. Thanks in advance.
Do you want things that come up every year - or a one off show?
For things that come up every year I'd look at planting some summer bulbs - they'll be in garden centres now, usually in boxed in coordinated colours. Pick a spot and put them in pointy end up - if you aren't sure which is the pointy end plant them on their sides and they'll work it out.
Plant at a depth of about 2 to 3 times the size of the bulb - the bigger the bulb the bigger the flower. They'll be instructions on the box.
If you want some colour just this year (annuals) then wait a bit till the soil warms up and sow some seeds - nasturttiums as easy, as are nigella and calendula and will self seed - so you get more (possibly lots more) the next year.
Have a wonder round a garden centre and pick some seeds that look nice and say easy or direct sow on them. And look at the bulbs.
The first thing to say is: you can totally do this! It's not difficult, and you WILL succeed!
The second thing is that if you put plants in an uncongenial place, they sulk and die. So you need to do three things.
1. The first is to work out what space you have. What way does it face, what kind of soil do you have, and where are you in the country? This sounds complicated, but it's actually really easy to figure out with a smartphone (to see what way north is) and a trowel (to dig into the soil and have a look at its texture).
2. The second thing is to improve what you already have, which usually means adding things to the soil, often compost by the bucketload!
3. The third thing you need to do is some very basic research for plants. Don't just go to the garden centre and buy anything you like the look of because it may not suit your conditions! Work out what will do well in your conditions and aim to buy things in waves that will give you colour all year round!