Some love them and some hate them bedding plants that is, Over the last couple of years they seem to be getting a bit of a bashing. But they are a British institution that have been planted on mass for well over 100 years every stately home in the land at one time would have had masses of bedding laid out in intricate patterns. A public park would not be the same with out it's bright island beds stuffed full of bedding. The same goes too for roundabouts nothing puts a smile on your face like a brightly planted roundabout first thing in the morning. Lots of these displays are maintained by volunteers usually under the guidance of there local Britain In Bloom group but it seems that not everyone likes these displays. Christine Dakin seems not to like them, In an article she recently wrote that she would rather see tree's and shrubs planted up instead of colour full bedding. I don't know about you but most roundabouts that have been planted up with shrubs are dull, uninspiring and litter magnets. But that dose not mean that shrubs do not have there place they make great back drops and border fillers on large borders.
The British bedding plant business is worth over £750 million pounds to the economy and employes hundreds of skilled nurserymen and women and its a tough business to be in with ever increasing heating costs. As well as garden centers, supermarkets and DIY chain stores getting them to produce them as cheap as possible leaving little profit if any and orders being canceled with out warning. We need to help them before they are all gone several bedding nursery's have closed this year already due to poor sales and inclement weather.
Now as much as i love mass displays of bedding plants i don't necessarily want that for my own garden but i do want bedding. If they are used well they look fantastic even classy many of our favorite bedding plants are being rediscovered at the moment by plant breeders. Dahlias are a good example 5 years ago they where brash and vulgar in colour had found sanctuary in allotments where they where grown for the exhibition bench. But now there is a whole range of new variety's with small flowers paler pastel colours and are now a must have plant for the border. I always have a few growing in pots ready to pop into the border when ever a gap appears normally at the begging of August when some perennials have gone over this also coincides with when they flower.
Bedding plants are great gap fillers what ever the size of the gap there is a bedding plant that will suit the situation. Antirrhinums have become one of my favorites over the last couple of years they flower all summer and in a good year will even over winter and flower again next year.
I do believe there is a bedding plant for every situation and how you plant them or use them is personal taste some like the bright vibrant colours and some prefer the pastel colours. Some want beds full of them and others want a few carefully placed amongst there borders.
How ever you use them always buy British grown plants from you local nursery.