Although we often complain about the rain, the weather we’ve been having recently in East Lothian is great growing weather – reasonably mild with plenty of moisture. It suits our summer plants down to the ground!

We will soon be enjoying fabulous displays of colour in our gardens and a bit of work now will reap the benefits in a few weeks time. Plant up your patio containers and baskets with colourful summer bedding, and pop some into any gaps in your borders. There is a huge selection available here at Merryhatton with old favourites such as petunias and begonias alongside some that are perhaps more unfamiliar.

Whatever plants you choose, it is very important to water them well when they are establishing, especially during spells of dry or windy weather. Containers and hanging baskets are particularly prone to drying out.

It is always best to give them a really good soak rather than a light sprinkle -a barrel-sized container can easily take a whole watering can full! Try to avoid splashing the foliage especially if it is to be sunny. The best times for watering are first thing in the morning or in the evening. If you do it later in the day then you can also combine the job with a slug hunt!

If you are going away on holiday over summer then it might be a good idea to move containers out of full sun so that they don’t dry out so quickly. We recommend pelargoniums (or bedding geraniums as many people still call them) for being particularly drought resistant. Cheery sunshine daisies or gazanias can also stand a bit of drouth.

To ensure the best and longest lasting display from summer bedding make sure to deadhead flowering plants regularly. Removing fading flowers ensures the plants put their energy into producing new blooms rather than developing seed heads. And don’t forget to feed them. Even if you have added slow-release granules when planting, a dilute liquid feed added to the watering can once a week won’t go amiss.

In early summer everything is growing rapidly, so stake tall growing perennials and tie them into their supports before they flop. Also remember to check your climbers, climbing roses and shrubs being trained against walls or trellis. Tie in new shoots as they grow to prevent wind damage.

Spring and early summer flowering shrubs such as weigela and philadelphus can be pruned as soon as the flowers have faded, and lawns will now benefit from a weekly cut. Protect ripening strawberries from birds by covering with fleece or netting and ensure a regular supply of quick maturing salad leaves by sowing in small batches every two to three weeks. Your fruit trees will naturally lose some of their fruitlets this time of year – it is known as the June drop – but you may need to do some thinning if they are still congested.

Just as importantly, make sure you sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour when the summer sun shines!

Ann Rosie and Julie - merryhatton team