Think ahead! It’s something all gardeners have to do. In winter we think of spring; in summer we think of autumn and in autumn… we think of spring bulbs.
Now is the best time to plant crocuses, daffodils and narcissi, dwarf irises and the like.
Tulips and hyacinths can wait a little longer since they don’t start putting down roots until October or November. But daffs want to get their roots started in late summer and the sooner you plant them the better.
Get down to your local garden centre or nursery right now and see what is on offer. There will be display after display of all manner of bulbs and the sooner you pick yours then the better will be the selection on offer.
Look for bulbs that are as large and firm as possible. Plump is good where bulbs are concerned – they simply cannot be too firm or fat. Avoid any that feel soft or that show signs of fungal mould.
Mixed selections are the cheapest but they are also the least effective in the garden. Massed groups of one variety will always have more impact and look more spectacular. Avoid the old ‘King Alfred’ and ‘Carlton’ daffodils, which are between 18in and 2ft tall.
They are out of scale with small gardens and in heavy rain or snow they will be bowed down to ground level and eaten by slugs and snails. What’s more, the foliage they produce will be like a forest.
The miniature varieties are far better. They grow to around 9in or 12in high and the foliage that needs to be left intact for six weeks after flowering is not nearly so messy or hard to deal with as that of the taller types.
The dwarf and miniature varieties can be planted now in clusters of six to 10 bulbs about 4in deep and an inch or two apart. Choose from a wide range of varieties. I’ve yet to find a single one that I don’t like.
If your garden could do with a shot in the arm next March and April, now is the time to think about it. When it comes to value for money, nothing beats these heralds of spring.
Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and Tip Of The Day every weekday in the Daily Express. For more information on his range of gardening products visit alantitchmarsh.com.
Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 23:01:00 +0000