Garden centres across England, such as Love Plants in Shrewsbury, are delighted to be open for business again after the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions for the past couple of months.

It’s a prime time of the year to fill gaps in your borders with bedding plants such as Salvia, Marigold, Nemesia, Verbena, Dianthus and Antirrhinums. For a shady spot, try Begonias or Fuchsias, while Gazanias in full sun will give a bright splash of colour or Osteospermums (African Daisy) for pastel shades. 

For drought tolerant plants, try Geraniums (Pelargonium) in red, pink, coral or white, or Lampranthus and Delospermums with their succulent leaves and bright colours.

For containers and pots, add some Geranium Fireworks or variegated Geraniums with coloured leaves to brighten up your patio. Try Petunia Night Sky with petals that look like the ‘Milky Way’ or Petunia Johnny Flame with plum coloured stripes. 

New Guinea Impatiens provide a splash of colour in zingy shades of pinks, coral and white, Agryanthemums offer pastel colours, Fuchsias add bright pinks and purples and Euryops contribute bright yellow and grey foliage. Use Coleus (Solenostemon) with dark leaves as a contrast to all these bright flowers. 

If you like dark leaves, Begonia Glowing Embers with orange flowers or Begonia Dark Elegance with bright red flowers look stunning in a pot on their own.

Use smaller 9cm pots of bedding plants to trail in hanging baskets or around the edge of containers and pots. Examples include Felicia, Bidens, Fuchsia, Diascia, Petunias, Aptenia or Geraniums - Pelargoniums add some trailing foliage with Lysmachia, Helychrysium or Nepeta (Glechoma).

To keep your bedding plants, hanging baskets and containers and pots looking good, water and dead head them daily and feed them once a week.

To fill gaps in your borders, add Cannas for architectural impact, Dahlias for height and a huge choice of shapes colours, Gladiolis for bright zingy colours and Lilies for height and colour, with examples such as Oriental lilies providing fragrance.

When caring for Dahlias, dead head them as the flowers go over to keep them flowering and make sure the taller varieties are staked. Apply a high potash feed once a week from midsummer to early autumn. 

When the foliage has been damaged by the first frosts, cut back the stems to 15cms, brush off the soil and lift out of the pots. Place them upside down in a frost-free place to dry naturally and pack them in boxes of compost or sand to store over winter in a well-ventilated, frost-free place. 

Water pots of lilies every day and apply a high potash feed every two weeks. You may have to stake taller varieties in windy conditions.

You can create drifts of colour in the border with perennials, such as Lavender which looks great. Try the English Lavender Hidcote with a deep purple flower or the French lavender Stoechas in a hot sunny spot, as it’s not as hardy in the winter. 

Try Achellia with their flat plates of flowers in various shades of pastel colours, or brighten up a sunny spot with Leucothemum, Echinacea or Heleniums with their daisy heads. Include flowers for cutting by adding Delphiniums, taller varieties of Alstromeria, Leucotheum and Sweet Williams.

Ensure you stake all your tall plants at the beginning of the season and keep checking them as they grow. For edges of ponds, plant drifts of Astilbe with their feathery flowers in white and various shades of pink and add Rogersia and Rheum for architectural interest. Try Lobelia cardinalis with its dark leaves and scarlet flowers, which can also be grown as a marginal plant in shallow water.