With snow on the ground at the end of March, and the coldest March for 50 years, it’s hard to believe that Summer will ever come. However, it is reasonable to hope that once this Arctic spell has ended, the ground will start to warm up and it will be possible to roll up one’s sleeves and start digging! At least this freezing spell will slow down those weeds. People tend to think of bulbs as being a ‘spring thing’, but there are actually bulbs for all seasons.
Bulbs produce splashes of colour in the garden that are extremely valuable and can lift a border or container that would otherwise be dull at a particular time of year. Daffodils are usually one of the first signs of a new year in the garden beginning and even for those who would not generally favour yellow, are a welcome sight. These are followed by Crocus, Anemone, Hyacinths and of course Tulips. There are in fact many other spring-flowering bulbs, such as Erythroniums ( the dog-toothed violet), Camassia, Scillas and Frittillarias, and garden centres seem to stock a better selection each year. Most of these bulbs need to be planted in the Autumn but some garden centres are now selling planted bulbs in pots, in Spring, that can be sunk into containers or borders, to fill gaps and provide colour for those who didn’t plant them in the Autumn. This is particularly valuable this year, when with these extreme temperatures, bedding grown in this country is likely to be delayed.
Now is the time to plant Summer Bulbs, whether in containers or in the border. In May/June, Alliums can play a great role enhancing the early summer border with their slender, long stems and purple or white globe-shaped flowers. These should also have been planted in the Autumn but many garden centres will sell them planted in pots now, just coming into growth. Lilies can also provide height in the border and many have a delicious scent and beautiful flower-heads. They flower over a fairly long period compared with most bulbous plants and come in many shapes, sizes and colours. Many will put up with shady conditions, thereby introducing valuable colour to lift a dull corner. Cannas, Gladioli, Eucomis and Dahlias are other examples of bulbous plants that are best planted in Spring. The good news is that garden centres should still have a good selection and one can peruse them in the warm!
Anne Fraser and Caroline Streets
07729 835988 & 07930 876348