Bedding plants are either short-lived or too tender to survive our winters, fast-growing, and ideal for covering your borders with flowers, or for packing into containers and hanging baskets. There is some overlap in practical use between annual or biennial plants, tender perennials, and tubers like Dahlias that are typically lifted at the end of each season: in general, the plants in this section are meant to be treated as annual bedding (i.e. thrown on the compost after they flower), even if they are technically perennials, unless otherwise stated.
Sowing a tablespoon's worth of seeds and raising them into a heaving flower basket is great fun, and if you have not tried it, then you should! Still, germinating seeds and then potting up and raising all the bedding we want for our pots and borders takes up a lot of space and time. Buying "ready-made" seedlings is a sensible way to go: you get the right number of the best quality plants, delivered to you at exactly the right time. You can plant them out one day in Spring and have them flowering almost overnight, with nothing else to do except water.
One does not simply produce a high-quality seedling using old or substandard seeds. The better the seed, the better the plant, so ours are grown from the best in good quality, peat-free compost, and the right container: cells for shallow rooted plants and plugs or rootrainers for those with deeper roots. In a controlled growing environment, the stage is set for great results. Where appropriate, we grow seedlings hard, meaning that temperatures are at the low end of the range in which they do well, and then we harden them off at night before delivery. This makes for stockier, stronger plants that won't wilt from surprise when they arrive in sunny Inverness.
Please note that annual plants are not covered by our year guarantee, because they are annuals or biennials that are supposed to last less than a year after you receive them. Some live longer than that, like perennial wallflowers, but they are still replaced every few years.
Wallflowers are all well-scented, and mix well with taller flower bulbs, especially Tulips. Most of them are biennials that flower between March and June, except for Bowles Mauve, which is a short-lived herbaceous perennial that can flower from February to August in most gardens, and even longer in ideal conditions in warm, Southern sites.
Sweet Peas have superb fragrance and are often grown specifically for cutting and bringing indoors to grace the whole house with their aroma, and their vase life is good. They require support, nothing fancy, a wigwam of sticks about 2 metres high is good. Their main flowering season is May to September. Their roots fix nitrogen, so they thrive in poor soil, as long as they have plenty of water, and a little potash and phosphate fertiliser if you want the best display. It is essential to deadhead the flowers when they fade to keep more coming, but apart from that they are a doddle to grow.
All the flower we sell like full sun and need consistent moisture when in flower, so it pays to incorporate plenty of organic matter into the soil in advance of planting day. Consider using an irrigation pipe, especially if you are planting a large area.
As long as they don't dry out, none of them are fussy plants, but for the absolute best displays, Wallflowers like soil enriched with fertile compost or well rotted manure. Cosmos and Sweet Peas are fine in relatively poor soils, enriched with leaf mould, coconut coir, or your least fertile compost, and will thrive with a little fertiliser while they are in full flower.
Growing Sweet Peas