Just as the Masterchef contestants have to choose their ingredients in their invention test, so each of us gardeners has to find the best recipe of flowers, to give the effect we want from our tubs, baskets and planters.
Start from the mood you want to convey - do you want to go for a hot exotic theme with reds, yellows, terracottas; cool traditional with blues, silvers and white; or perhaps a pretty cottage theme with pinks, purples, lilacs.
Certainly, there are numerous mouth-watering colours- Supertunia Raspberry Blast and the heavenly scented Nemesia Wisley Vanilla, Framboise or even Berries and Cream. With their long-lasting colour, there should be a Nemesia to fit in with your display theme.
Likewise, upright Fuchsias make a good central mainstay of the display. Don't try and choose too many different plants and colours- the phrase ‘keep it simple' is worth bearing in mind when confronted with the choice available. If you are too daunted, many garden centres offer already themed packs, at reasonable prices, so that you have a guaranteed success with the colour combinations.
Many annual bedding plants come from hotter climes, so make sure they receive the light and warmth they require. If you are restricted to shadier areas use Fuchsias and Begonias in the display.
Don't skimp on compost and add gel granules, if regular watering is difficult- choose Ivy Pelargoniums, if dryness will be an issue, and remember to feed regularly to nurture the plants.
Plant Area Manager, Paradise Park.