Summer-flowering bulbs to plant in spring
Plan ahead with summer bulbs - a brilliantly easy way of adding colour to your garden
Bulbs are great because they can be grown in any garden situation - in pots, borders, rock gardens and grass. They burst from the ground, dying back again in the course of just one season, injecting highlights of interest into the garden when more permanent plantings are lacking. Here's a taster to whet your appetite for bulbs year round.
Bulbs for summer: plant in spring
Many bulbs we grow for summer flower hail from the warm climates of South Africa, South America and Asia, and this is reflected in their exotic shapes. Easily squeezed into awkward gaps and great for filling spaces in a border without disturbing more permanent plants, summer bulbs add vibrancy, texture and shapely form that can't fail to impress.
● Ornamental onions, or alliums (above: bottom left), flower from late spring to mid-summer. Planted in autumn, these are the exception to the spring-planting rule. Bear in mind that their foliage fades as they flower, so plant them among plants that will cover their withered leaves. The starburst balls of bloom from A. aflatunense are complemented by buttons of deep purple from A. sphaerocephalon.
● Best grown with their roots in the shade and their heads in the sun, lilies (above: top right) give spectacular displays. They can be planted between autumn and spring into well-drained, rich soil. Favourites include Lilium regale, L. martagon and L. Enchantment'.
● Other summer-flowering bulbs include camassia, crocosmia (above: bottom right), eremerus, tigridia and gladioli (above: top left).
Get the best displays all year round
● Bulbs generally need to be planted in a hole about three times their size, in well-drained soil. Dig gravel into your planting area if you have heavy, clay-based soil in your garden.
● The easiest time to move bulbs is when they've just finished flowering but are still in leaf - this way, you can see what you're doing!
● Don't plant bulbs in ground that regularly needs to be dug over. Plants produce the best displays when left to naturalise.
● Feed and water established clumps of bulbs after they've finished flowering to ensure a good display for next year.
● Bulbs need to have their leaves untouched in order to bulk up a food store to support next year's display.
● Stand on bulb planters to save your back and give you control over planting. Use one to cut your holes first, then plant and backfill as you go along.
● It may seem obvious, but plant bulbs where you can see them - along paths, at the front of borders, and so on.
You might also like...