Have you got your spring bulbs in the ground yet? The best time to plant these is in November but if you get them in this week they should still be good come Spring. I love planting bulbs at this time of year once the garden has died down. We have a good clear up and cut back all the unruly plants at the end of October and then it’s time to start planning our next season. Those first spring flowers add so much cheer to the cold, barren months ahead.
I’ve planted my tulips in beds before but once they are over they can look untidy so these days I prefer to plant my bulbs up in pots. This way when they’re past their best I can move the pots to the back of the garden so the green leaves can die down and put all the energy and nutrients back into the bulbs. Of course you can dig them up and throw them away if you don’t have space to store them and just start again the following November planting up with fresh new bulbs. If you do store them you can either leave them in their pots or dig them up once the green leaves have died right back and then wrap them in newspaper and store them in a paper bag in the shed until the following November.
To get the happiest flowers you should start by putting some really lovely compost into your pots. Using fresh new compost means the bulbs will be healthier and your flowers will be stronger. I use a bulb starter supplement too to help give my flowers an extra hand. If you have a bulb planter you can simply push it into the earth to make holes the right depth for each of your bulbs. You’ll find the correct depths for each variety of bulb on the back of the bulb packet. If you don’t have a planter you can use a trowel, just make sure you dig a hole deep enough. If you plant too shallow the stems will be weak and the flower heads small and droopy. Make sure you space your bulbs out enough (again refer to the packets for measurements) and go for an odd number of bulbs in any one pot – 3/5/7/9.
In terms of what varieties to plant – this is all down to personal preference. I’ve tried something different each year. This season I’ve planted all white bulbs as my helebores are white and green and they’ll compliment each other beautifully. I also love peach and apricot colours or dark colours like Queen of the Night. I like to mix in tulips with paperwhites or narcissus. I also love muscari – these are really effective en masse in a small, bowl style pot on your patio table. Once the bulbs are in the earth cover with soil and pat them down so they’re nice and snug. If you are prone to squirrels you can cover the tops of your pots with netting or chicken wire to prevent your furry friends digging them up.
Towards the end of March and in early April, green shoots will start to appear and soon you’ll have a beautiful display of flowers to brighten up your garden. Happy planting friends xoxo