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Gardening expert Lucy Hewett has some advice on shopping for plants

Well I hope you had a lovely Easter, the weather was a mixed bag but gave some opportunity to get out and do a bit in the garden or to go and see some of the pretty bluebells displaying early this year.

We somehow ended up in Cyprus for a week, a nice surprise and a lovely time of year to see the island and overload my senses with the wonderful scents of the citrus blossoms. Just as nice to return to our own blossom covered county though….it looks like it’s snowing with all the cherry blossom falling in my garden as I write.

Top Tips When Buying Plants

With the weather warming up nicely, it’s likely you’ll be popping into a garden centre or nursery at some point to pick up a few plants, I love a visit to the nursery, for years my daughter thought this was the only place we went to on trips out, until she got to “not the garden centre again Mum” age!

On your visit, to help you make the best selection and to avoid wasting your money, follow these guidelines:

Weeds on the surface: plants that may have been left hanging around for a while and have not been re-potted on recently can be spotted easily by the surface of the compost being covered with mosses and liverworts – these are best avoided.

Condition: Look for lush green foliage and uniform, well-balanced growth, it may be fairly obvious but try to avoid dry, pale, yellowing or wilting foliage.

Check the roots: if you are buying annual bedding and you notice there are roots growing out the base this is fine but when buying larger container grown plants don’t be afraid to gently knock the plant out of the pot to check the roots, making sure it is not completely pot bound (when the roots wind themselves round and round inside the pot).

Buds: I know it’s easy to be drawn to the plants that are in full flower now but you want a nice display to look forward to after you have planted it so look for plants that still have plenty of tight buds.

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