Planting bulbs is quick, fun and easy, adding vibrancy to garden borders at a time when many plants in the garden are still dormant.
Most spring-flowering bulbs should be planted in the autumn, these include narcissus and tulip varieties, hyacinths and many more. Snowdrops can be planted ‘in the green’ when available in spring, they grow better this way rather than planting dry bulbs in autumn/winter. If you plan and plant carefully you can enjoy a brilliant display of colour from January until the end of April with alliums giving the final flourish till mid-May!
Bulbs are perfect for growing at the base of deciduous shrubs and amongst perennials as by the time they have finished their flowering period the summer perennials take over, making them the perfect addition to our Garden on a Roll Borders
We asked Garden on a Roll founder, professional garden designer and all-round plantsman, Antony to answer some of the top bulb questions:
When is the best time to plant bulbs?
NOW! The soil at this time of the year is generally moist and the temperature is still fairly warm and the first frosts are still a good few weeks away.
Which are the best varieties of bulbs to plant in autumn?
Of course, the most popular varieties are daffodil and tulip, there’s also hyacinth, iris….
Lightly fork the soil before planting bulbs, then it’s easy to use a trowel to plant. Do not plant bulbs in badly drained or soggy soil as they may rot.
Before planting check that the bulbs are solid and firm especially varieties available up until December. You should plant bulbs at twice their height deep and with the growing tip facing upwards.
I would suggest using bulbs that grow less than 40cm high in a mixed border and low growing varieties in groups of five for a border display. My favourite bulbs to add to an existing planting scheme are dwarf tulips, short narcissus and crocus. For larger borders you can choose various types of bulbs that give an extended flowering period.
Squirrels and rodents will seek out and dig up tulips and crocus bulbs so use a deterrent spray such as garlic or cover with mesh – two natural pest control options.