Getting your bulbs in for spring
As the weather begins to cool and the leaves start to change, many gardeners begin to think about planting their spring-flowering bulbs. Although it may seem counterintuitive to plant in October, this is actually the perfect time of year to do so. By planting now, the soil is still warm and bulbs have the opportunity to establish their roots before the ground freezes, giving them a head start come spring. Even though they may appear dormant during the winter months, they will be able to bloom in all of their glory when the sun starts to shine again.
Spring bulbs can either go directly into borders or be planted in pots; it’s entirely down to your preference. A good rule of thumb is to plant them at a depth of around three times their size. They need sun or partial shade and free-draining soil, so you can always work in some horticultural grit when planting if your soil is very heavy. The best way to make an impact with your spring bulbs is to plant them in big clusters, so put down as many as you can afford or have the room for.
One of the safest bets you can make in terms of spring-flowering bulbs are snowdrops. They’re the first to flower, usually around February, which means they’re often referred to as ‘the first sign of spring’. One of the things that makes them so popular is their resilience- they’ll flower in just about any weather, including snow. They grow in partial shade, in moist, well-drained soil. Some of the best places to put them are under shrubs and trees, but they can also be grown in pots if you wanted some for your patio flower display.
Daffodils bring a splash of colour to springtime with their eye-catching blossoms. Planting them at this time of year means that they’ll start flowering as soon as the temperatures rise again. They’ll bloom year after year with little need for interference, which makes them a reliable member of any garden. They do best in full sun, but can tolerate light shade as a compromise. They’re suitable for containers, borders or even naturalised lawns - just make sure they’re planted in moist but well-drained soil. They’re a perfect partner for wallflowers, so try planting them together for a complementary display.
One spring-flowering bulb to avoid planting in October is tulips. It’s easy to make the mistake seeing as all the others need to be planted around now, but it’s important not to put them down too early in the year to avoid tulip blight. They’re prone to this disease, which is accelerated by warm and damp conditions. So it’s advised to buy your bulbs in September but wait until November before planting. That way, you should be seeing lower temperatures and possibly even frosts that will help to keep blight at bay. Don’t worry about them going into the ground later than your other bulbs - they only need a short season of growth and should still flower alongside the rest.