This week, my column comes to you from Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.

The diverse flora here is incredible gradually shifting from Montane to alpine as the altitude and exposure to sun changes the higher up the mountains you go.

But what’s really taken me by surprise is the Swiss commitment to bedding plants.

Every chalet, restaurant, hotel and b&b is adorned with baskets of colourful annuals. But they think a little more “out of the box” than the usual trailing pelargoniums and petunias.

Height, scent and colour are added with cosmos, dianthus, Marguerite daisies, dahlias and trailing sweet peas.

Unless you’ve grown plants from seed, at this time of year you’ll be buying trays of plugs to plant up.

Be very gentle when handling these delicate little plants. Always handle them by the root-ball or the leaves.

Resist the temptation to grab them by the stems.

They may look strong but their soft tissue is easily crushed between fingers.

Even on a small scale, lay out the plants before planting to decide on their final positions and spacing.

Once your happy with the layout, plant them at the nursery mark with the top of the rootball just below the surface of the compost. Firm gently and water well.

Plants in baskets will need regular watering as their shallow roots can quickly dry out.

Regular feeding (with a liquid feed such as Miracle Gro) and deadheading will encourage strong growth and continual flowering over the season.

Slugs and snails can be a problem on new plants with soft young growth.

In my experience the best treatment for these slimy beasties is Nemaslug – a biological control containing nematodes which seek out and kill slugs in the soil.

It is particularly effective in wet or damp conditions when slugs are most active and its safe to use around children, pets and wildlife.

Those closest to me will attest to the fact that I’m not the greatest fan of summer bedding (or any type of bedding for that matter!) but when done on this large a scale. I’m not too proud to admit I was wrong. It looks incroyable!