HARDY annuals are the mainstay of the cottage garden but it’s worth experimenting with them, whatever you grow.
They’re perfect for beginners and children and if you don’t like them, you’ve only splashed out a couple of quid for a packet of seeds.
There’s an unexpected bonus with many varieties – they seed themselves, giving you plants for nothing.
Some even survive over the winter to give a second batch of blooms this month.
Three of the best for this are violas, English pot marigolds (Calendula) and nasturtiums.
I’d much rather have the delicate-looking viola over it blousy cousin, the pansy.
A quick inspection of the garden this week revealed tiny purple and yellow flowers peeping out from under some alliums and one plant wedged into the edge of a wall – you’d never get anything to survive there if you meant it!
To take advantage of this, you’ve got to know what’s a weed and what isn’t.
Most people only focus on the flowers, but study those small, rounded, slightly heart-shaped green leaves.
Get used to spotting them and either leave them to grow on or move them to somewhere more suitable.
Calendula leaves have a slight whitish bloom and are elongated, while nasturtiums are distinctive – round with the stem almost in the middle.
These three are edible, adding colour to salads, but if your menfolk are like mine, it’s best to stick to lettuce!