PUTTING THE ZING INTO SPRINGAli Barwani
Let’s not beat around the bush, 2020 will not be going down as one of the best years that we have ever experienced. In fact, we don`t think we will miss it when it has gone.
However, one of the highlights of the year has been the pleasure many have gained from spending time in their gardens, on their balconies, down on the allotments, and tending their houseplants.
Gardening has undergone a national renaissance, and this has kept us busy at Capital Gardens helping our customers as they created veg plots out of weed patches and green swards from patchy lawns. But now that the harvest is beginning to dwindle, and the weather has become distinctly wetter and cooler you may be wondering, is there anything more that can be done in the garden this year? Well, Yes, there is!
September is the perfect time to start thinking about injecting some colour into your beds and pots for Winter and Spring interest. And bulbs and corms are a brilliant way to give your garden that boost.
The first thing to know is bulbs are not just for Spring. You can plant autumn crocuses and colchicums right now. The same applies to hardy cyclamen which will bring colour to your garden in winter and early spring.
But if its Spring colour that you require, then you are truly spoilt for choice. Our staff have been busy sourcing, selecting and displaying a cornucopia of colourful bulbs for you to choose from. And now is the best time to pay us a visit before that special tulip or daffodil that you really want sells out.
Why should you buy bulbs? Well, bulbs are virtually bullet-proof. If you plant them at the right time and at the correct depth, then they will reward you with magnificent flowers that appear just when they are needed most. All the instructions that you will need for success can be found on the back of the packets.
With such a wide range available the following selection will give you a feel for what you can grow. If your interest has been piqued, then pop by and visit your local Capital Gardens centre to see the full spectrum.
As an appetiser, can we suggest the following:
10 must have hardy bulbs:
The iconic flower of early summer. The Chelsea Garden Show just wouldn’t be the same without masses of these large showy spheres. Planting them in Autumn allows the development their root system before winter, ensuring a magnificent display later-on. Top tip: look for Allium ‘Graceful Beauty’ a new form with sparkly white flowers tipped with purple stamens – this is the ‘Bulb of the Year’ for 2020.
The star-like flowers of Anemone blanda shine out in sunny areas in mid Spring, though it also tolerates shade. Windflowers can be white, pink, blue or purple. Fun fact: these grow from an underground branch known as a ‘rhizome’, not from a bulb.
There are numerous crocus species and cultivars to choose from. Cheerful crocuses give colour from late winter through to early Spring – and are excellent for naturalising in grass. Expert tip: if you plant both species and hybrid (Dutch) crocuses you will get a longer crocus flowering season.
Even without Wordsworth’s help the daffodil would still be one of our best loved spring flowers. Instantly recognisable daffodils are easy to grow; and are available in a wide variety of colourways and forms. They do well in pots and window boxes as well as in beds and in lawns. Expert tip: plant your daffodil bulbs by the end of October.
For the adventurous gardener, the stately Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis) is the star of the Spring garden. These bulbs need to be deeply buried and require space to achieve their full potential. In contrast, the delicate snakes-head fritillary can be closely planted. Expert tip: be on the lookout for lily beetles on these.
The flowers of this diminutive flower resemble tiny bunches of grapes. They can be found in many shades of blue and purple and in white, and even in yellow. They make a great compliment to other bulbs, or a statement when planted densely in a container on their own. Top tip: grape hyacinths attract bumblebees to the garden.
These big-headed bulbs with their waxy bell-shaped florets are famed for their intoxicating perfume. They are great for growing in containers, where their erect inflorescences bring an air of formality to the garden. Fun fact: You can buy specially prepared hyacinth bulbs for indoor forcing to bloom at Christmas.
These bulbs are ideal for mass plantings under shrubs and trees where their luminous blue flowers shine out. Expert tip: There is an autumn flowering species (S. autumnalis), and there are other species that bloom in Winter.
The harbinger of spring is a must-have for most gardeners. Snowdrops thrive in the dappled shade at the base of trees and shrubs. There are many species and cultivars available. Fun fact: did you know a person that collects snowdrops is known as a Galanthophile?
This delightful bulb has been bred into a kaleidoscope of colours and a myriad of forms. Tulips are the flower of late Spring. They are ideal subjects for spring containers. Fun fact: in the 17th century some tulip bulbs in the Netherlands were more valuable than people’s homes.
Anybody can grow Spring bulbs in their garden, balcony or on their windowsills. There is the right bulb for whatever situation you have. Bulbs are an economical way to pack your garden with Spring colour. Burying these little packets full of promise is a great way to express your faith in the future. Anticipating and observing their development to full flower, one of botany’s greatest miracles, is achievable for gardeners young and old. So, if you have been enjoyed this taster why not look at the bulbs on our website; or come and visit us to see our full range of hardy bulbs and their allies.