Summer is the new spring in the garden in 2012

FOLLOWING some of the worst spring weather that anyone can remember, 2012 is the year to see summer as the new spring for gardeners according to Horticultural Trades Association’s (HTA) Director of Business Development, Tim Briercliffe.

But as the weather starts to take a turn for the better, the HTA would like to reassure gardeners that they still have time to plant to achieve the perfect summer garden. With the promise of improved weather in July, we are seeing the emergence of a late spring, the perfect weather to kick start the gardening season.

The miserable weather this year will have escaped nobody’s attention. This spring saw the Met Office report the coldest April since 1989 and a May that was pretty unsettled, with temperatures unseasonably low for the time of year. As we head into the middle of June, Britain has been experiencing a ‘European monsoon’ with as much as a month’s rainfall falling in a single day.

Like the weather, trading for garden centres and retail nurseries across the country has also been depressed with the majority seeing trade down like for like compared to last year, as gardeners were unable to get outside to do any planting.

However, there is nothing to stop your 2012 garden looking than better than it ever has before. It is not too late to start planting with garden centres still fully stocked with ideas to reinvigorate your garden. Although it may be too late now to plant flowers from seed, pre-planted containers and hanging baskets for instant colour are still readily available. Many garden centres are offering special deals on plants that will flower for up to 12 weeks or until the first frosts, and can also offer advice on how to get the best out of a late spring.

It is also not too late to plant geraniums, fuchsias, marigolds, begonias which are in abundance in garden centres this month. All are easy to plant and will add fantastic colour to any beds, borders or tubs. Now is also the perfect time to plant shrubs, normally this time of the year would see the soil being too dry. However, after the prolonged rainfall, the soil is still relatively wet and warm creating the ideal planting conditions.

Tim Briercliffe, Director of Business Development said: “The extensive rainfall and unseasonable temperatures will have had many gardeners concerned that the planting season has passed them by. However, this is not the case as there has never been a better time to start planting, and with garden centres full of quality plants, it is not too late to brighten up your garden with summer colour.”

For those interested in Grow Your Own, there is still plenty of time to plant summer salad crops which can still be sown and eaten this summer. These include leaf salads, baby carrots, radish and sprouting seeds. There are still vegetable plants available to purchase and plant including tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and cucumbers, plus runner beans and broad beans, all can still be put into vegetable beds or planted in allotments and will return a high yield. Fruit bushes such as blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and currants are also ripe for planting.

With the Olympics on the horizon, there never has been a better time to celebrate and entertain in the garden. Many garden retailers are offering good deals on outdoor leisure items including patio furniture sets to suit all budgets, fire sets, chimneas, gazebos, barbecues and accessories in time for the summer.

For a patriotic feel, The HTA Bedding Group have compiled a list of stunning red, white and blue plants that can be used in gardens, patios and doorstep containers, hanging baskets, balcony and window ledges to create a summer-long celebration and show your support for Team GB. A promotional flyer can be downloaded from www.the-hta.org.uk/2012planting which contains ideas to help you style the perfect look.