WHAT TO DO
* Snapdragons ('Antirrhinum majus') are generally treated as annuals, but by nature they are perennials (though short-lived) and often flower better in their second season. I have had good results sowing seeds in pots in a cold frame and then pricking out the seedlings into individual 8cm pots.
'Appleblossom' (Chiltern Seeds £1.75) is a gorgeous, tall variety with white flowers throated in palest pink. 'Crimson Velvet' (Chiltern Seeds £2.50) is a 40-year-old beauty of medium height (45cm) with dark crimson flower spikes.
* Start tubers of favourite dahlias into growth if you want to increase your stock by taking cuttings. Greengrocers' wooden boxes make ideal nurseries.
WHAT TO BUY
* I still use various old zinc wash tubs that once belonged either to my father or (even further back) my great uncle. But Cox and Cox (0844 858 0744, coxandcox.co.uk) have a range of new 'aged' zinc planters that look much the same. A bucket-shaped planter with handles (H30cmx Dia39cm) costs £29.