Old favourites for the garden are Begonias, Geraniums, and Lavender and it is very rare to find a garden in the UK without these favourites planted somewhere.The Begonia is a combination of beautiful double-flowers and textured foliage make the tuberous-rooted begonia attractive plants to grow.  Of course there are also some very charming single-flowered varieties, the plants which are half-hardy, make colourful summer bedding and are superb as pot plants on the patio.

Another idea is to use begonias floating in shallow bowls, as they make gorgeous cut flowers, use your imagination and place around candles for a lovely table dressing.  If growing your own and to obtain the earliest flowers, start the tubers off by sprouting them in a seed tray or box of general purpose potting compost in February or March, plant them about 2in (5cm) apart and bury them in the potting compost so that the top side is just covered with a surface layer of peat.

The ideal temperature to start the begonias off is at 18C but do not seem to mind a higher temperature a lot of gardeners place them in the airing cupboard, of course a lower temperature will mean a slower start, when the tubers have sprouted and small leaves are showing pot them ready to give as gifts.

Planting a geranium in the garden is also very popular among the gardeners.This plant needs sunny locations with good soil drainage after the danger of frost has passed and soil temperatures are about 60 degrees F or warmer, of course you can always work in 1 inch of compost if the soil is heavy with poor drainage or sandy before planting, and remember geraniums need eight hours of sunlight each day.

Water when the soil is dry, soil that is too wet will cause root rot, feed with nitrogen-phosphate-potassium, regularly during the growing season, but be sure to stop fertilizing geraniums in late August, also pinch off dead flowers to promote new growth and prevent Botrytis fungus, which attack new buds and leaves.

Lavender is a plant that has taken pride of place in gardens the world over, and is a calming, sweetly aromatic and refreshing herb that grows in many locations.  Lavender has a tendency to grow prolifically under the right circumstances

It is of Southern European origin so it has a liking for warm, sunny conditions and a soil that drains well, also a slightly alkaline soil, if your soil is heavy dig in as much well-rotted compost as possible, and the best time to plant lavender is in early autumn or mid-spring, and if your soil is lacking in nutrient then feed at planting time.

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