Posts Tagged ‘bulbs’

Ever since I wrote about year round scent a few weeks ago, I’ve had it in mind to look our for some Iris unguicularis at this week’s show. ‘Mary Barnard’ is a tallish variety, up to 12inches in height and spread, and comes with a gentle scent too. I’ve planted these at the bottom of a south-facing wall as they like sun and poor, well-drained soil, and right by the back door so as they clump up over the years, I’ll have this cheerful sight and delicate perfume at the beginning of each year.

I saw these Irises along with the sumptuous and uplifting display of  Snowdrops on the Avon bulbs stand.

Helpful as ever and always supplying quality bulbs which return year after year, I also caught sight of the exquisite Crocus tommasianus and have written a note to self to order these in the autumn for a lush pink carpet in our community front garden come next spring.

Ashwood Nurseries always delight and I particularly liked the gorgeous simplicity of this Hellebore ‘Anna’s Red’,

shown en masse on their stand this year. Hellebores, Crocus tommasianus and snowdrops are also great for pollinators who will be on the hunt for food early on in the year so doubly worth planting.

Further back in the hall was Sea Spring Seeds, supplying a tempting selection of veg seeds which have been put through their paces in their own market garden. I picked up some interesting Japanese leaves, such as Red Knight Mizuna, Golden Streak Mustard leaf and Tatsoi Yukina Savoy and also got chatting about their comprehensive selection of Chili seeds. Chili seeds can be sown indoors now and into March and grown on indoors in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill. I also wanted to know if Sea Spring seeds supplied any varieties that could be grown on outdoors. Joy Michaud recommended ‘Super Chile’ as it’s such a fast grower and hopefully it will ripen out-of-doors if given the sunniest of spots. Worth trying as part of our community veg growing project this year for some neighbours who like it hot.

Further travels around the show revealed the creative use of recycled objects and pots on the D’Arcy and Everest alpine stand,

and I did purchase a few Sempervivum to try out some recycling of domestic objects at home too.

And finally, couldn’t resist buying a Rubus lineatus on the Crug Farm Nursery stand for its crinkly yet soft palmate leaves. Rubus is such a great family of plants including the Japanese wineberry, Rubus phoenicolasius, Blackberries, Rubus fruticosus and I did spot a rather intriguing plant,

Rubus ulmifolius bellidiflorus, wild, but with amazing pink pompom flowers, at the Hampton Court Flower Show last summer. Can feel an obsession coming on.

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Now Daffodils are finishing flowering (some of mine have, while others are still going strong), it’s a good time replenish their food reserves so that they’ll repeat the show next year. Firstly, remove the dead heads (just the dead flowers-but leave the stems), so that they won’t use their strength to produce seeds, and then nourish them with tomato feed. This helps the bulbs build up energy so that they will flower again next year. Don’t cut back the leaves at all, as they are also working hard, by manically photosynthesizing, to feed the bulbs.

If you have Daffodils in a pot that didn’t flower this year and that have been in a pot for some time, feed them now and then re-pot them later in the year when the stems have died back or even in autumn when it’s daffodil planting time. When re-planting, use John Innes no.2 compost (a soil based compost that will retain water and nutrients far better than a peat-based multi-purpose compost). It’s a good idea to empty everything out of the pot so you can see what state the bulbs are in. If the bulbs have multiplied, divide these up by carefully pulling peeling off the smaller bulbs from the original bulb, and then re-plant the bulbs (to the same depth that they were planted before) in fresh John Innes no.2 compost. (Should be available at most good garden centres and some Homebases, B&Qs etc.)

And then next year your Daffodils should bring joy again come February/ March and April

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I’m just about to order Snowdrops for this year, but there is a sizeable debate as to whether to plant Snowdrops (Galanthus) as bulbs in autumn or ‘in the green’ (when the plants are growing) in winter. I’ve always planted mine ‘in the green’ at this time of year as this seems to be the more successful route, but some true galanthophiles say they have more success from bulbs. I think I will try some bulbs next autumn, but the key may be to buying bulbs from reputable suppliers so that they have not become too dried out and are still viable.

If you already have Snowdrops in your garden, you can divide them once they have flowered in February and they will soon clump up again over the next few years. However, if you have space to fill, then order now, so that bulbs will arrive in February at the right time to plant in your garden.

Galanthus 'S.Arnott'

Galanthus nivalis is probably the most commonly grown in gardens, but there are many other varieties to choose from too such as G. ‘S.Arnott’ which reaches about 9 inches, has lovely large, rounded flowers and a delicate scent. The nursey at Great Dixter in Sussex offers several varieties, including Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’, G. ‘Washfield Colesbourne’ and G. ‘S.Arnott’ and prices range from £3-£5 per plant. If you’re into collecting snowdrops, Harveys Nursery in Suffolk sells more than 70 varieties which cost anything from £4 to £35 per bulb! For larger quantities , Jacques Amand have fewer varieties to choose from but at very good prices and this is who I shall be oredering the bulk of my Snowdrops from this year.

If you’re uncertain as to which Snowdrops to plant , then put the RHS spring show dates into your diary. The show takes place in London at the RHS halls in Victoria on February 15th and 16th with ‘some of the UK’s best nurseries showing a spectacular array of spring flowering plants to tempt gardeners’. Not to be missed!

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