Bulbs are the ultimate in wait and see. Plant them now, in many ways you can forget about them, and then what a fantastic surprise when they all come up and flower in the spring.
It’s still summer as far as I’m concerned, as firstly I’m still playing cricket and secondly autumn is really about Earth’s axis and orbit around the sun, therefore it astronomical and starts on 23rd September.
Having said that I have been thinking about and planning, with my wife, what bulbs we’re going to plant.
Why do I love spring flowering bulbs so much?
- Bulbs are easy and adaptable
- Bulbs are bold and bright
- Bulbs cover the whole spectrum of colours
- Bulbs flower from January to June
Bulbs are easy to plant - simply dig a hole (depths vary according to different bulbs) and can grow in pots, containers, flower beds and borders, beneath trees and shrubs, in woodlands, meadows and lawns. Tulips look great in containers and beds (although mind out for those pesky predators of your lovely edible bulbs – especially badgers in my case). Bluebells look stunning in woodlands and beneath trees, while seas of daffodils and narcissi look perfect on a lawn, in meadows or either side of a driveway.
Bulbs put on a bold show of colour, brightening dull winter and spring days with all the colours you can think of and a variety of heights from ground dwelling aconites and snowdrops to tall architectural flowers such as alliums.
Bulbs can be depended on to provide colour from January right through to May and June. Have a look at the flowering times for bulbs below. This is simply a guide and all plant species vary and can come out at the most odd time, for instance some of our more foolhardy daffodils were out in January last year, although the sensible majority were out in April.
Successional planting is essential to make sure you get continuous colour, from black tulips such as Queen of Night, purple alliums such as the enduring favourite Purple Rain and buttery yellow daffodils/narcissi such as Fortune (which has a deep orange trumpet) and all colours in between.
Daffodils are simply a joy, a promise of warmer days and a garden’s delight. They come in whites, yellows and oranges of all different hues and combinations and large and small petals and trumpets. Some smell wonderful, while others simply look fantastic.
Tulips come in all different colours to suit any taste, from dark and rich, bright and breezy to soft and subtle, with combinations that work well together – such as the cream and pink tulips we had last spring.
Alliums are the magic wands of garden designers, filling the gap in colour between spring and summer. They blend into any kind of garden from a densely planted border to formal hedging to give height and form, if you want to make an impact plant these sensational bulbs for a flower head that’s a perfect sphere of interlinking coloured stars.
Then, of course, I need to think about cyclamens for December, January and February for winter aconites and snowdrops, then crocuses in March and April, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips from March until May, bluebells after that and then the alliums before the roses start blooming!
Spring flowers are so important to our garden, but also to our well-being, they give us a connection with nature, to something beyond the normal. They trigger chemicals in our brains that contribute to feelings of happiness, a sense of pride and excitement for the months ahead.