Do not be perturbed by garden gaps

Even the most accomplished garden designers will occasionally find that their flower beds will develop gaps, industry commentator Emma Townshend has asserted.

Writing in the online pages of the Independent, she suggests that plants have a knack of "evading all expectations" and will often behave in ways that horticulturalists cannot predict.

Ms Townshend suggests that people should not agonise over why the bare spots came into being, but rather what to do with them.

"Think of the garden as a patchwork and patch in whole groups of plants bought from outside," she suggests as a potential strategy.

Effective gap-filling flora includes fuchsias, allium and sweet peas, Ms Townshend notes.

In the longer term, she suggests growing plants specifically for the job of patching.

The National Sweet Pea Society states that the blooms can be planted in the soil during March or April and, depending on weather conditions, there should be flowers by July.