Head gardener's unmissable tip for bedding plants... for a picture perfect garden

These top tips are a real game-changer for creating show-worthy flowerbeds

Now is the time for planning summer flowerbeds. Selecting and planting your annual bedding plants to full potential, to ensure the best display of blooms all seasonal.

This week on This Morning we saw Great Dixter’s lead gardener Michael Wachter share his top tips for planting summer bedding to full potential.

Whether in the ground or in raised beds, he has some rather nifty tricks to help get your arrangements looking picture perfect.

More top tips: Celebrity gardener David Domoney's 1p gardening trick all gardeners need to know

Garden expert's tips for planting bedding plants

1. Take a step back to view the positioning

marigolds flowers garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rebecca Pow)

Michael's most game-changing tip is to 'always think in pictures'. And what does he mean exactly?

'When we plant up we are very zoomed in, we are right on top', of the flowerbed he explains. But as he points out this is not how we experience our gardens, often we are enjoying the plants from afar. So making sure it has impact from all angles and a distance away is key to good planting.

He goes on to say, of the Great Dixter gardens once they've planted the flowerbeds they stand back, to admire the planting from far away. He says to ask yourself, 'Does it look comfortable? Are you happy with it?' If yes, leave it, if no simply change it.

2. Forget the rules on spacing

busy lizzie flowers garden

(Image credit: TI Media)

It's not uncommon to think bedding plants require a lot of space in-between them, to let them grow. But Michael explains these rules go out of the window when it comes to seasonal beds –there’s no need for spacing when it comes to summer plants.

‘For a summer annual bedding you want it to be full, just a sea of orange basically’, talking about the marigolds he’s planting.

3. Create strong edging

'Always make sure you have a strong edge, so you plant the plants right against the edge of the trough – that's really important' Michael advises. He says this is best practice, whether a small pot or a large bedding area.

The most plentiful flowering summer bedding plants are annuals sown from seed. These include most commonly known marigolds, petunias and Busy Lizzies.

Great Dixter was the family home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd. The idyllic countryside  setting in East Sussex is an inspiration for all gardeners, and well worth a visit when it's open again.

Celebrity gardener and presenter Kelly Brook was left overwhelmingly inspired by her visit – as she shares with This morning viewers...

Read more: Kelly Brook's tips to get gardens 'dazzling in time for summer' – as seen on This Morning

Will you be adopting this handy tip for future planting?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.