First rule of gardening for new gardeners – plan ahead to get what you want!
It’s very common for people to pack up their gardens for winter as early as the August bank holiday weekend – my advice is – DON’T!
One of the joys of gardening for me is that it’s something you can do all year. Even when the weather is totally rotten, you can sit down with a glass of what you fancy in a comfy chair and pick your dream plants for the future.
However, that’s not just a winter job. For the best spring bulbs, corms and tubers (don’t worry, they’re all basically a swollen root that stores food) in the colours and sizes that you want, you need to be perusing the bulb catalogues, online stores and your local garden centres now. They’ll already be in stock.
Lift your spirits all year round
When you’re still enjoying your summer garden, it can be very easy to take your eye off the ball – but what will be left to lift your spirits by late winter?
Ordering now and planting bulbs from September to December, or in spring, depending on the type, means you’ll have precious colour and scent at what is a really hard time of the year for some.
A little bit of work during the next few months will mean a wonderful welcoming display during the dark days. Even a few bulbs in a pot by your back door will raise the spirits.
What to plant and when
- Daffodils (Narcissi): By the end of September/early October.
- Crocus: By the end of September/early October.
- Hyacinths: By the end of September/early October.
- Tulips: November to December – if there’s a virus called tulip fire in your area, leave it until December – the cold kills off the virus.
- Snowdrops: The exception to the rule – plant them in late spring after they have flowered – in March and April. This is called planting ‘in the green’ because the plants are still in leaf.
- Winter Aconites (Eranthis): Either plant tubers in the autumn or in the green like snowdrops after flowering.
- Bluebells: In the autumn or in the green in spring.
- Cyclamen: Plant dry corms in September.
- Hardy summer-flowering bulbs (lilies, alliums and crocosmia): September and October.