As we count down the days until Christmas, now is an excellent time to start preparing your garden for some colourful spring bulbs. Flowers bring a garden to life and none give more bang for their buck than spring bulbs. Daffodils, tulips, crocus and alliums all look beautiful in spring. But, if you don’t have a clue where to plant your bulbs and can’t tell one end from the other, all your hard work will be for nothing!
Spring bulbs are easy to handle, but to make it easier for newbie gardeners, here are some quick and easy tips.
Prepare the Ground
Most soils are fine for spring bulbs, but if your soil is very heavy or drainage is poor, consider planting your bulbs in containers. Otherwise, prepare your beds by removing weeds and digging in some compost or organic fertiliser. Soil should be well-drained and well-fertilised for spring bulbs to flourish.
Buy Quality Bulbs
Look for quality bulbs. Healthy bulbs are firm to the touch. Unhealthy bulbs are soft or rotten. You can pick up spring bulbs from supermarkets these days, but we recommend you buy quality bulbs from Carpenter’s Nursery, as our spring bulbs are nurtured from healthy stock and will last for many years if looked after correctly.
Bulbs have a top and bottom. The pointy end is the top and the roots should be obvious, but if you are not sure, place the bulb on its side and it will find its own way up.
Read the planting instructions, which will tell you how deep to plant your bulbs. Larger bulbs need to be planted deeper. Spring bulbs should be planted in October to November.
Mix and match different varieties. You can layer early flowering bulbs with later flowering varieties. Not all bulbs need to be planted in the sun; some varieties such as woodland flowers are quite happy in shaded spots of the garden.
Bulbs look best when they are planted in random groups. Throw your bulbs on the bed and plant them where they land. Large groups of tulips or daffodils blooming en masse will look amazing in the spring.
Place markers so you know which bulbs are planted where. This should help you avoid inadvertently digging up the bulbs and ruining your spring display of colour.
Protect your Bulbs
Cover your newly planted beds with a layer of mulch. This will protect your bulbs from weeds. Bulbs should have no problem pushing through the mulch but weeds will struggle.
Bulbs are great for container planting. To make life easier, plant your bulbs in plastic pots of compost and place them inside attractive terracotta pots. Once the bulbs have finished flowering, you can remove the plastic pot and store it out of sight until the bulb growth has died back.
Don’t be alarmed if your bulbs don’t flower in the first spring. Some varieties take a year to flower. If you want your bulbs to stay healthy, lift them at the end of the flowering season and store them in a dark, dry place until next October/November. They can then be replanted.