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The Independent Online
If you are planning summer displays in new terracotta pots, soak the pots overnight in water before planting them. Dry terracotta will absorb water from the compost and may not leave enough for newly introduced plants.

Pond plants such as marsh marigolds and water liles can be split and replanted now. If you are planning a new pond, avoid extremely vigorous varieties of water lily. 'James Brydon' has flowers of deep rosy pink and handsome foliage.

Seed of biennials such as sweet william, canterbury bell and wallflower can be sown now to flower next spring and summer. Seed of perennials, such as aquilegia and sweet rocket, can also be sown ready for next year. I have been sowing seed of a flamboyant poppy, Papaver laciniatum 'Carmine Rose' (Thompson & Morgan £1.19). They grow 2-3ft high with huge double flowers. This is an annual best sown where it is to flower, but the ground on the bank is so baked already, I have sown seed in a row in the vegetable garden and will transplant clumps of seedlings later with plenty of soil round them. If I am careful, they may not notice.

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