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Thursday, 10 October 2019

Planting Spring Bulbs

If you plan spring bulbs well and its not hard, your bulbs can begin in Februrary and take you into June when the summer bedding takes over.

Spring bulbs are planted from September all except tulips they wait until November. That means plant your snowdrops, dafodills, narcissi, hyacynths, sillas, iris, crocus, alliums, fritillarias, muscari, camassias etc to enjoy next spring.

Snowdrops through grass

3 sucessions of tulips, early to late
Bulbs are successful in amongst the grass, in borders and also in pots. Multiple decks of planting in a deep pots can provide a continuous flowering period from the begining of spring until the end. The term Lasagna planting has become quiet common place now and it simply means planting  layres of bulbs on top of one another with the latest flowering variety in the bottom layer. A late flowering tulip variety can go in as the bottom layer, followed by and early narsisi and then a crocus or iris. Alternatively carefully choose different seasons of tulip as seen my pot here. Violas plant perfectly now so you don't need to be looking at bare compost until spring and everything will grow through from underneath.

Before you plant its useful to check what the RHS recommends.
The RHS Recommendations for Planting Bulbs:

''This method applies to spring-, summer- and autumn-flowering bulbs:
1.    Dig a hole wide and deep enough for your bulbs. Work out the planting depth by roughly measuring the bulb from base to tip and doubling or tripling this length – this figure is the rough planting depth. For example, a 5cm (2in) high bulb should be 10-15cm (4-6in) below soil level
2.       Place the bulbs in the hole with their ‘nose’, or shoot, facing upwards. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart
3.    Replace the soil and gently firm with the back of a rake. Avoid treading on the soil as this can damage the bulbs ''
As a rule of thumb most bulbs like to be twice their own depth. We also now have a microryzal fungi planting agent to add to sprinkle under your bulks and improve there establishment.
When the soil is very damp and heavy you can plant bulbs on their side if they are prone to taking in water from the top and rotting. Also if you are not sure which is the top or where the shoot will come from you can plant the bulb on its side and it will correct itself.
You may wish to scatter the bulbs and plant them where they land for a more natural effect.
Planting in the green
It is often recommended that Erythronium (dogs tooth violet) anemone nemorosa (wood anemone), silla peruviana,silla sibirica, chionodoxa, aconites, bluebells and snowdrops are planted in the green although bulbs are also successful.
Forcing Bulbs
3RD Week in September for Christmas flowers. Hyacinths will flower 10-12 weeks from potting if kept in a cool, dark room (or under a cardboard box) until they have shoots about 2in tall. Narcissi can flower flower 8-10 weeks from potting and don't need to be kept in the dark.

1) Planting in moist shade
There are lots of woodland bulbs suitable for moist shade such as  bluebells, erythroniums and Anemone nemorosa
2) Dryer shade
Planting on the south facing side of a boundary is much dryer shade ideal for Anemone Blanda and chitodoxas.
3) South Facing dry conditions
This situation would be on the south side of a hedge. It is suited to tulips.

Planting in Grass
What you plant must be able to compete with the grass and you must not cut the lawn until the foliage has died down. Narcissus are ideal and look natural. Parks tend to choose the taller daffodils. Crocus and miniature iris are commonly planted. Snakes Head Fritillaries are a native plant that like moist conditions. They will look very natural in spring grass or partly sunny woodlands with ferns ,hostas and dicentra.

Planting in Containers
Most things can be planted in pots. Containers of bulbs can be planted and dropped into holes in the garden when it flower then lifted later. Certain bulbs have more impact. Tulips, plant about 1 per inch of pot i.e 12 in a 12”. Shades of colour that harmonise such as black (dark purple) tulips with lilac mauve a Large flowering alliums can look spectacular. Large Fritillaries can look magnificent. Under planting the bulbs with foliage plants could looks good.

Bulb Planting Partners
This could be a huge list but there are some specific foliage plants that mix and compliment many planting schemes. Dicentra, hellebores, dianthus, vinca minor, ornamental grasses , heucheras, ferns and hostas all work well underplanted with spring bulbs.
Other suggestions are Phaem geraniums, nepeta,  artemisia, stachis, Alchemila molis, Campanula carpatica, arabis and aubrietia.

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