It is that time again when the spring bulbs start to appear in garden centres, and I feel excited about my plans for my own garden next year!
There are so many bulbs, corns and tubers to choose from and so many different colour combinations for you to create a gorgeous display and, if you stagger your planting times, will last well into May.
When it comes to tulips the list seems endless, from the Triumph to Parrott to dwarf to the late to the double late to the Lily flowered varieties you are truly spoilt for choice.
I like to plant a combination of bulbs and have chosen to plant 'Antraciet' a dark purple paeony like tulip with the white 'Trés Chic' with its white lily like petals, and 'Black Parrot' with its dark feathered petals with the tangerine coloured 'Ballerina' - and I am not done yet!.
I plant my tulip bulbs in containers. There are two reasons why I do this, firstly you can position your bulbs where ever you like, particularly useful if you have an area in the garden that needs and injection of colour.
You can use smart containers as a focal point, like a stone urn, galvanised planters or frost proof glazed pots or you can plant bulbs in plastic pots which can be planted directly into the border by digging a hole large enough to plant the pot and its contents directly into the ground without disturbing the bulb which will fill a gap in your planting!.
And secondly, you don't have to endure the sight of the foliage as it dies back making your border look untidy. Pots can be removed to an area out of sight to allow time for the 'goodness' to go back into the bulb.
Narcissus planted in groups either in the border or in the lawn look very natural. The fragrant multi-headed 'Sailboat' with its pale creamy coloured petals will look great. However, bulbs planted in the lawn have the slight drawback of allowing time for the foliage to die back and the problem then of mowing around them.
For bulbs planted directly into the ground take into account the soil type and the aspect. There is a bulb that will suit them all. For full sun why not plant Allium 'Purple Sensation' with its gorgeous purple globe shaped heads that flower in May/June.
For shade consider snowdrops, they look great planted under trees. For dry soil conditions Nerines, Cyclamen or Muscari will do well, and for moist soil a favourite of mine Camassia. The tall flower spikes of 'Blue Heaven', 'Maybelle' or 'Alba' look striking in a border or naturalised in a meadow.
For some impact you could plant Fritillaria Imperialis 'William Rex' with its dark orange-red flowers or the bright yellow Imperialis 'Lutea' to add height and an exotic feel to your terrace, patio or border. These tubers grow to 90cms tall and flower in April/May in full sun or partial shade.
Until next time Julie