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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Bulbs in Irelands Gardens

Bulbs sown for spring are an investment in your garden.

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:07 pm    Post subject: Bulbs sown for spring are an investment in your garden. Reply with quote

Bulbs sown for spring are an investment in your garden.
by GPI

Bulb planting in autumn, can, I suppose, be compared to putting money away for a rainy day or investing in funds. You outlay some cash to purchase your bulbs, then undertake the time-consuming task of planting them with no immediate pay-off besides a long winter wait as you and your new plantings journey towards spring flowering. Patience is required and faith is demanded, if you are to reap the rewards of spring blooms by depositing bulbs right throughout your garden.

To stretch the investment analogy further, let me draw your attention to that little bit of text that clings to the base of most investment plans, "Past Returns are not an Indicator of Future Performance". In the case of garden bulbs it means that you will not achieve the results you see pictured on the bulb packaging unless you match your bulbs to your location/soil type and unless you look after the bulbs other growing needs. So lets look at a few tips, which will virtually ensure your bulbs light up next spring.

Flowering times.
Select bulbs that bloom when you require your colour, for example, for colour from January to April you can use, in order of flowering....
Arrow Anemone (wind flower),
Arrow Snowdrops,
Arrow Crocus,
Arrow Miniature daffodils,
Arrow Kaufmanniana tulips.

For an April to May display, in order of flowering, include.....
Arrow Daffodils,
Arrow Grape hyacinth,
Arrow Fosteriana tulips,
Arrow Hyacinth,
Arrow Fritillaria,
Arrow Darwin tulips.

Then to cover May and June, again in order of flowering, sow.....
Arrow Bluebells,
Arrow Lily flowered tulip,
Arrow Dutch iris,
Arrow Alliums (flowering garlic).

A sneaky gardener can also stagger their plantings at weekly intervals to stretch out the length of time each bulb type will be in bloom for the first year. This then regulates itself in subsequent years.

Kaufmanniana tulips, early flowering and suitable for containers, photo / picture / image.

Planting locations.
Match the bulb to your planting locations, for instance, low growing bulbs are particularly suited to planting in containers as they are then elevated towards the viewer for up-close appreciation. Dwarf daffodils, species tulips (eg. Kaufmanniana), snowdrops, and crocuses and are well suited to pot planting. For some gardeners planting bulbs in free-draining containers may be your only option in the case of balcony gardeners, or if your garden soil holds water as bulbs tend to rot under those soil conditions.

With free-draining soil available to you, should you wish to create a formal bedding display in straight lines or a rigid shape, then you should opt for those old reliables, the hyacinths and tulips. For a typical woodland scene, create a naturalised bulb planting beneath trees by selecting snowdrops, cyclamen, bluebells, and grape hyacinths.

The three best bulb types I have found which eventually naturalise in open grass are daffodils, crocus, and bluebells, so go with those if you want a spring flowering lawn. For spring colour on the rockery, you will want to instead go for dwarf daffodils, Fritillaria (snake's head), and grape hyacinths.

Bulb quality.
Bulb size and more importantly, bulb health are equally significant factors in selecting your spring garden bulbs. I suggest you carry out my personal quality test for bulbs when going through those available in your local garden centre.
Healthy bulbs should be firm and heavy for their size. The colour of the bulbs skin should be uniform with no dark or light patches. They should not feel overly dry or light.

Certain bulbs (daffodils etc) will have loose and peeling skin, this is normal and nothing to worry about. In the case of bulbs, "bigger is better", big bulbs usually mean a large amount of stored food to produce brilliant blooms the following season. Smaller, bargain bulbs may take two years to produce blooms good enough for your garden.

Anemone bulbs are an exception to these rules as they look less like bulbs and more like a little nugget of turf that you may find at the bottom of your turf basket. But in common with the other bulbs, you should not plant any of these with weak, spongy or mouldy areas, as this is often a tell tale sign of rot.

If the bulbs you select appear to tick all the above boxes then you are well on your way to a colourful return from this season's bulb planting.
For bulb planting proper, see here......... Bulb Planting in Ireland

Any queries or comments on Bulbs sown for spring are an investment in your garden, please post below.

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