Avoiding the risk of late frosts

Twenty years ago, as a young gardener, pre my college days, I worked in a family run garden centre, and at this time of year, every evening we'd place the summer bedding under the benches, lifting them up again in the morning and place them back on the sales beds. 


Well, it was simple really. Experience thought us that at this time of year, even with the beautiful weather during the day, there is always a danger of slight ground frost during the nights, that can stunt or wipe out entire batches of bedding. 

And, as the young 'go-for', I was tasked with undoing the curtain of hesion that was tied up over the Clianthus and ensuring the plant was covered at night, protecting, from frost, those slightly tender leaves and all important flower buds. 

I'm using these examples to make an important point, that up until mid-May, and maybe later, fresh young bedding plants, and tender shrubs, need protection from frost, even slight ground frosts. 

Any bedding plants or similar that are coming from a warm greenhouse or poly tunnel need to be hardened off, by having them outside during the day and taking them in at night. It can be a bit of work, however, it's well worthwhile in order to maximise the growth of the plants and the flowers they provide.

And what if you're bedding plants were planted today? Well, that's easy, simply place a cover over them at night (and only at night...) to keep them snug. Even a couple of sheets of newspaper can make a big difference. 

The same advice goes for hanging baskets and bedding containers. Make sure to protect them from night time chills, temperatures no less than 7*c, and, with a little patience, they'll soon be bursting with colour!

Happy gardening