Reedley Garden Centre

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Flowers and nature have formed a big part of my life. As the children were growing, I did my best to make them aware of the natural world around them.

Planting strawberry plants and seeds together, watching things grow, the progression of the seasons, harvesting fruit and vegetables and looking out for the wildlife we were able to attract into our garden.

Most of the time it seemed it was a case of in one ear, and out of the other. However, as the years passed I now realise they have affectionate memories of days spent building dams, catching minnows and collecting sloes from the hedgerows.

In a small way this manifested itself when my elder daughter took delight in spotting and photographing a vixen and her cubs in the back garden of her flat in Clapham, London. Even amid the concrete and hustle and bustle of London, wildlife finds a space.

I say ‘garden’, her outside space is fairly overgrown and rarely used.

Consequently, what flowers she has are of the ‘cut flower’ type. Remembering her mum’s favourites, peonies, she bought a bunch and placed them in vase on her bedside table. After 10 days she awoke to the fact they had (as she put it) exploded in the night showering her with petals as she slept.

Down at Reedley we were visited recently by two stoats, one in hot pursuit of the other, presumably reflecting their amorous state-of-mind.

In broad daylight, they ran around the car park, dashed through Monty’s legs before disappearing into the long grass.

We, however, have no cut flowers at Reedley. Now is the peak of the summer bedding out plant season. After a horrible May, characterised by chilly winds, at last we are finally getting the long-awaited milder air we have waited for, for so long.

Not always sunny, at least daytime temperatures are reliably in double figures and overnight frost looks like being a thing of the past. About time too, after all it is nearly June. So it is now or never time.

As always, I am going to rave about the non-stop (flowering) Begonias. Surely there is no better garden bedding plant. Bold attractive foliage, striking colours, large showy flowers, combine with excellent garden performance, come rain or shine, suitable for sun or shade.

Their cousins, Begonia semperflorens, commonly “bedding begonias” are another winner.

Personally I like most flowers, but lobelia, antirrhinum, petunia and cosmos always find a place in my garden ... and dahlias, fuchsias, geraniums, violas,and calendulas ... and, of course, we have to have some diascias, bacopa and verbena.

Meanwhile, our younger daughter asked me to drop some stuff off at her house. What do you like I asked. “Oh those pink things...!”

I think there is still some work to be done there, but at least she’s trying and knows what she likes, even if she hasn’t a clue what they are called, and quite rightly knows that now is the time to get planting if you want flowers this summer.