Winter be gone! Here comes the spring and with it the opportunity to plant bulbs that will fill your outdoor space with vibrant colours. As ever, whether you have a balcony or an acre there’s something for you in the beautiful world of bulbs, corms, and tubers. Let me take you on a quick tour of some of my favourite summer bloomers…
Bulbs are superb for filling gaps in beds and borders; tuck them between other plants in drifts. My borders are colour-themed, so summer bulbs are perfect for accentuating the theme when planted in complimentary colour waves. Do remember to mark where you have planted them; it is amazingly easy to forget where they are! Gladioli, with their soaring flower spikes, are ideal for backs of borders flowering at 60 – 120cm (2ft – 4ft).
If you only have room for pots, then summer flowering bulbs look fabulous; if your pots are large enough you can plant two or three different types in layers to create an ever-changing display or pack with the same variety for a simple yet spectacular colour splash. Plant the tallest, latest flowering bulbs at the bottom, ensuring they are not touching, and cover with compost and a handful of grit so the tips just show. Position the next layer between the tips, and repeat, ending with a layer of compost twice the depth of the top bulbs. Shorter flowering Dahlias and pot Lilies are my first choice topped off with “pendula” begonias. Match your pots with your hanging baskets using the same hanging “pendula” Begonia corms. Choose the right varieties and you’ll also fill your garden, patio, or balcony with fragrance – the packs in the centre have all the information you will need.
Summer flowering bulbs attract bees, butterflies, and pollinating insects into your garden. Open centred flower forms of Dahlia are particularly attractive to pollinating insects as are Alliums, Paeonia, Hollyhock & Gypsophila.
Summer flowers needn’t stay in the garden as many make great cut flowers… gladioli, dahlias and lilies work really well. Think about the flowering period when choosing for cut flowers, it is possible to have fresh flowers in your home for months from one planting.
Whilst now is the time to buy, as we have the full selection in the centre now, you will want to wait until the risk of frost has passed. You can plant until the end of May and be sure of success. Full planting instructions are on the packs, do take the time to read them as spacing varies from plant to plant. Summer flowering bulbs will need a lot of extra water immediately after planting in order to quickly develop their roots.