HE’S best known for planting the ball in the net for Saints.

But goal machine Rickie Lambert proved he also had some flower power when he helped to unveil colourful hanging baskets and floral displays in a Hampshire estate.

The striker was joined by dozens of youngsters from around Valley Park as he helped promote the planting at Knightwood Road, which happens every year as part of a community venture.

Rickie, named Championship Player of the Year last season as Saints won promotion back to the Premier League, was impressed by the hard work being put in to bring colour to the housing estate.

He knows his team will have to dig deep themselves when they tackle champions Manchester City in the first game of the season.

Fixtures against Premier League big boys Arsenal and Manchester United follow shortly after.

Rickie added: “We are back (for pre-season) on Thursday and I’ve been training hard in the gym myself. I’m ready to go back and can’t wait to get back.

“The first four games are very interesting and exciting – I’m made up with them. The best the Premier League has to offer the first game, you could not have asked for more – it’s away as well so it is something to look forward to, definitely.

“We want to survive, that’s our main objective, but let’s see. We went way past our expectations last year so let’s see if we can do it again.”

The Saints frontman conceded he was “not a massive gardener”, although he did admit to finding the pastime “quite relaxing”.

He told the Daily Echo: “Maybe I’ll take it up when I retire. Obviously I have got a garden and I have to do a bit now and again when it’s overgrown.

I do find it quite relaxing.”