Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Bulbling over...

As October Half Term is traditionally the time the children decide to get into the garden and use the water pistols they have ignored all summer, I have used the opportunity to plan ahead (for once) & get some spring bulbs in the ground.

I love bulbs: they are such low-maintenance plants and, if chosen well, can give welcome pops of colour throughout the year. It always surprises me that a brown dessicated husk can produce such exquisite flowers.

I have chosen a mass of mini bulbs to plant this year, from www.miniaturebulbs.co.uk . These have gone onto the small slope at the back of the garden. We originally left the bank as turf for the family to run up & down, but the shade from a huge Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea') has prevented the turf from growing, and given way to creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens) & ivy (Hedera helix). I have weeded out the buttercup & ivy, and backfilled with a small handful of bulbs as I go. I hope to introduce wild flowers gradually to cover the dying bulb leaves in the summer.

I no longer bother sprinkling bonemeal in the holes, after the dog carefully dug up 50 bulbs one autumn, licked them clean of bonemeal & deposited them around the edge of the lawn. I also don't put gravel or grit sand in for drainage either, as I would have to negotiate the web of tree & hedge roots to dig even deeper (hence the choice of dwarf bulbs).

Although bulbs are mostly geotropic, turning & settling themselves to their preferred position in the ground, you will enjoy most success when the bulbs are planted 2-2.5 times their own depth, with the tips to the top & 'beards' (roots) to the bottom.

Crocus 'Ladykiller'
Erythronium tulumiensis
Fritillaria meleagris
Narcissus 'Minnow'
Narcissus 'Ice Wings'
Tulipa batalinii 'Honky Tonk'
Tulipa 'Little Star'
Tulipa clusiana 'Tinka'

Oh, and a bag of 30 bulbs that I found sprouting in the shed. I am hoping they were once intended for our garden or a client, and therefore must be a bulb I like. Or shallots...

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