In your garden: Firm favourites will avoid pot luck

Now the weather is warming up a bit there is loads you can be getting on with in your garden this month.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 10th March 2012, 12:00 pm

All the new seed potatoes are in the garden centres now and it’s time to chit or sprout them on a sunny windowsill to gain some time before planting them outside when the soil warms up. Spend some quality time poring over the seed selections and choose your favourites.

I love rhubarb crumble so with a few plants which, after three years, are now looking promising for a decent crop, I finally treated myself to a quaint old terracotta forcer to get an early crop of tender pale pink stems. A big bucket would do the job just as well but wouldn’t look nearly as pretty.

To add some seasonal colour in pots around the house, there’s plenty to choose from. Pansies, primroses and violas are the spring bedding plants everyone loves, with their sweet little faces and gorgeous colour ranges. Give senetti a go – they are pretty tough and will take a bit of frost. They will make about 12-18 inches in height and their big daisy-like flowers come in stunning shades of pinks, rich purples and blues. Chop after flowering and they will reward you with another flush of blooms later.

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There are some new kids on the block that we have grown and trialled recently. Ranunculus are increasing in popularity each year as a spring container plant although it is actually perennial. The exquisite flowers have multiple layers of delicate, crepe paper-thin petals that open into blousy blooms that get better and better.

Dianthus are one of my favourites and the new varieties Oscar and SuperTrouper flowered in pots on my patio from March through to August last year. They have double flowers with a serrated edge, the most delectable perfume and come in shades of white, yellow, pinks and reds.

Pop any of these plants into containers along with some bulbs like dwarf narcissus or tulips for a fab Mother’s day gift.

n Carolyn Spray is director of Pentland Plants, Loanhead,, 0131-440 0895, and a presenter on the BBC’s Beechgrove Garden.