Spring Bedding Plants for Your Flowering Borders
Spring-Flowering Bedding Plants
The following list of spring bedding plants will brighten up your flower borders from the off. Be prepared – either propagating them yourself in your greenhouse or from the nursery.
These do not always come through the winter very well but can be tried on the lighter, well-drained types of, in sheltered areas. Seed is sown in May or June, and plants transplanted 6 ins. by 6 ins. on a spare plot, until September, when they are set out where they are to flower, being spaced 10 ins. apart. They reach a height of 15 to 18 ins. and do best where there is ample lime in the soil. Popular varieties are White Lady; Empress Elizabeth, carmine; Queen Astrid, crimson, and Zephyr, lavender.
The Double Red varieties are most popular but pink or crimson should also be considered. These perennials are often treated as, being dug up after flowering and composted. Varieties with quilled petals, such as Etna, are also colourful and valuable subjects for spring flowering.
One of the best varieties is Royal Blue, which is 12 ins. high, but for a low growing type use the dwarf strain, which is only 6 ins. tall. In sheltered areas, the variety Blue Bird will do well; it flowers sooner than other sorts and is 15 ins. high. There is also a carmine pink variety, called Carmine King, which makes a contrast to the usual blue colours of these plants.
The winter-flowering varieties will give some flowers throughout a mild winter and can be obtained in separate shades such as yellow and blue, or as “mixed”. For spring flowering good varieties are: Crimson Queen, Black Prince or Coronation Gold; for a striking display mixed colours will give good results.
Englemans Giant is a very good strain which can be sown in May or June for flowering the following year, or be raised under glass in February to give blooms in early summer. Pansies are particularly useful for edging purposes.
This is one of the most valuable subjects for a spring display. To obtain plants for putting out in beds or borders (or window boxes) in September or October, you have to plan well ahead. If seed is sown thinly in rows in a cold frame in July, the plants can stay there until the next spring. Then plant them out on a spare border, 12 ins. by 6 ins., in semi-shade if possible. Give them a generous layer of, worked into the top few inches of soil before planting. No plant responds better to this treatment, a cool root run being essential. Grow them on through the summer, until required for lifting and replanting in the autumn.
Sowings can be made in a heated glasshouse in March, and plants raised in boxes for hardening off in a cold frame in May, then planted out of doors as described above. Established plants can be divided after flowering has ceased, and the divisions planted out for the summer, also as described above. Use only the strongest plants for division. Best quality flowers, on a good length of stem are obtained from seed sown afresh each year.
These plants are June flowering and are particularly valuable at that time. Pink Beauty is outstanding, being a striking salmon pink. The Auricula-Eyed sorts, in mixed colours, are also colourful. These are about Bit. high, but there is also a dwarf type, only 9 ins. tall, useful as an edging, available in pink shades or mixed colours. Wee Willie is an annual variety, 6 ins. high, often grown on the annual border, especially in the front, as an edging.
The red sorts are very popular, of which Blood Red should be included in the list of varieties to grow. A good contrast will be produced by Cloth of Gold, which is a deep golden yellow. A rich shade of ruby is provided by Ellen Wilmott, whilst Vulcan is one of the best crimson varieties. One bed of an early variety, such as Early Flowering Vulcan, should also be included to lengthen the display.