Garden Planning Ideas: Spring-Flowering Bulbs
A well-designed garden always has lots of bulbs involved. There are hardly any areas of a garden that bulbs can’t be planted. You can plant bulbs between shrubs or herbaceous plants, in rock gardens or in the lawn. In planning a garden, bulbs are a very useful addition to a planting scheme and even if you don’t have a garden they could be put in a pot!
One of my favourite jobs this time of year is choosing which varieties to buy for flowering next spring. But with such a bewildering array of varieties available, where to start? Some bulbs flower in spring, some are for summer and others flower in the autumn. For now, we’ll stick to the spring flowering bulbs, which can be found in garden centres everywhere at this time of year. Aim to buy bulbs that will give a succession of colour, from the first snowdrops to the last alliums in May.
A top tip is to buy your bulbs early. If you wait till later in the season, the bulbs can become damaged or covered in mildew. Don’t buy bulbs that are squashy. They should be hard, like an onion. A rule of thumb when planting bulbs is to plant each bulb twice as deep as its height. If you are buying from a garden centre, most bulbs will come with instruction as to the ideal depth, but it can get a little confusing so just remember that the bigger the bulb the deeper into the ground it will need to go. This is because the larger the bulb, the larger the eventual growth will be.
Spring-flowering bulbs can be planted in drifts, just as they might in the wild, or naturalized in patches among the grasses of the lawn. Whatever the size of your garden, this autumn try planting up a few containers with different varieties of bulbs. By growing bulbs in pots, you can provide temporary colour where they can easily be substituted when they are past their best. For an indoor floral display at Christmas, plant some forced hyacinth bulbs specially prepared to flower at Christmas. If you can’t find those, don’t worry; ordinary hyacinths are fine, but will just take a bit longer to flower.