This week I have taken the plunge and been to a public place to shop. The first such visit since March last year.

Needless to say, it was garden related. With all the positive signs of being able to open the garden next month, I needed to get my summer annuals planted up. I went to my usual supplier, a large nursery on the outskirts of Eastbourne, up with the lark, earlier in the week and it was very quiet indeed.

I hardly encountered anyone else, until I came to pay for my purchases. So, now I have a busy week in prospect, finding homes for them all which won’t be too difficult.

I bought a complete mix of plants from geraniums, lobelia to verbena and many more to boot. The main problem for me is that many spring flowering bulbs are still giving their all, so I will not want to disturb them until they have finished flowering.

I can see it will be a work in progress for the next two or three weeks. The most important task will be to get them planted and fed, to ensure they look their very best for the first, pre-booked, National Garden Scheme Day on the June 29. Tickets are selling well for this date, with almost half already bought. If you are interested, get online now and book your ticket though the links on my garden website home page. Talking of the National Garden Scheme, did you realise that many gardens open “by arrangement” only. One such garden is in Hove, 26 Wilbury Avenue, close to the station and the number 7 bus route. It is a small, town garden filled with shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals and grasses. You can arrange a private visit from Monday until August, by contacting the owners, Julia and Steve White, direct on 07568 538447. Groups up to ten can also visit. Full details at under gardens by arrangement. While I generally like to buy more established annuals, it takes less time for them to look really good in the garden, I also buy a limited number of plug plants. If you have more patience than me, then this is the perfect way to prepare your garden, for much less money, for the upcoming summer. Some I’ve acquired so far are Zinnia Zahara, Sweetunia Fiona flash, Bidens Hawaiian flare bicolour, Cosmos Cupcakes and Osteospermum Double Ice Blue. They are doing well, potted up before planting in among my other annuals in containers. I love to create densely planted views, so visitors have no idea what’s in the ground and what’s in a container.

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