As November gives way to December, you now have your final chance to get your spring flowering bulbs planted within those garden locations requiring an early annual lift. A little bit of thought as to the positioning of these bulbs will ensure that you and your garden visitors soak up as much as possible of the warming colour that these plants produce.
For example, early blooming bulbs such as snowdrops and crocus will serve you better if planted close to your house. In this location, they will be clearly visible through your windows whilst you remain inside in the warmth of your living room or kitchen.
Planting early blooming bulbs such as snowdrops within window boxes is another way of bringing spring colour closer to an indoor viewer. A container full of spring flowers directly outside a window is an ideal way to brighten up the days of anyone who is housebound.
Tulips are commonly regarded as one of the taller bulbs, and as such are not suitable for containers. A few dwarf tulip varieties suitable for window boxes do exist though.
For this purpose, try.....
Tulipa bakeri 'Lilac Wonder' (lilac/yellow),
Tulipa urumiensis (yellow/bronze),
or Tulipa 'Dream Boat' (orange/red).
The more common taller tulips are still as popular as ever, judging by the vast quantities of this bulb type available in outlets as diverse as garden centres, hardware stores and corner shops. Pre-packed or loose, these bulbs are literally walking off the shelves, so it looks set to be a very colourful spring.
An idea that I try to impress upon gardeners who dabble with tulips or other tall spring bulbs e.g. daffodils, is to pair them with companion plants. It's simply a matter of planting perennials directly in front of the tall bulbs.
The perennials are usually low to the ground in spring allowing you an unobstructed view to the bulbs. Then when the flowers and foliage of the bulbs fade, the perennials will grow upwards covering the old stems of the bulbs. Give this design tip a try; you will be surprised how effective it is.
For those of you planting bulbs over the next short while, here are a few pointers to ensure success.
- The soil you are planting your bulbs into should be worked over with a garden fork and coarse / sharp sand or grit added.
- Add a fertiliser to encourage bulb root development. Products such as "Bulb Booster", "Super phosphate" or "Fish blood and bone" are perfect for this purpose.
- Plant to the correct depth, you can usually get away with planting at a depth that is twice the bulbs height.
- Don't forget, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, snowdrops etc must be planted with the root plate pointing downward and the pointy top or nose of the bulb pointing upward. This gets the flower growing in the right direction from day one.
So quickly, get to your local garden centre, grab a bunch of bulbs, and get planting before it is too late.
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