Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
At last the long awaited warm weather has arrived -and that is all it needs for the thoughts of gardeners to turn to summer flowers. Antirrhinums (snapdragons) are among the oldest of known garden plants and no cottage garden would be complete without them. You only have to watch children squeezing the jaws of a snapdragon to watch it open to be transported back to childhood. I can remember the fascination these flowers had for me with their bright colours and ability to be handled. Despite what is often thought snapdragons are perennials but we are more likely to use them as summer bedding plants, putting out around late May and pulling them up for compost in November. Whether you have grown from seed or bought young plants they should now be well on the way to being hardened off. By the end of the month they should be able to cope with the big outdoors and be ready for planting in their final positions. They do best in fertile, well-drained soil and like full sun. Prepare the planting site in advance with fertiliser and they won’t need any further feeding during the coming season. To keep your plants flowering dead head regularly and in dry weather make sure they are watered.
Rust is the main problem associated with snapdragons and it pays to look out for rust-resistant varieties. Keep a watch for aphids on the young growth during the summer and deal promptly with any you find in whatever way is best for you.