Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Bulbs ‘should be planted now for spring blooms’

Planning ahead is one of the major considerations to take into account when gardening throughout the winter.

Many plants need to be placed in the soil now so they can develop throughout the colder season and bloom next spring. Professional garden and landscape designer Dan Pearson has claimed that now is the time to plant certain bulbs.

In an article for UK national newspaper the Guardian, he specified that they will be able to offer flashes of brightness for the whole of the spring season if they are mixed up wisely. He explained that he planted two pots of bulbs in his vegetable garden this time last year – adding that they even replaced the pictorial meadow that was in place before them.

When it comes to specific types of plant, the same newspaper recently singled out the Allium Purple Sensation as being a highly desirable species. It flowers in May and June, so it would certainly benefit from being planted now in readiness for next spring and summer.

This is easy to grow – and was described as adding class to any border or pot, with its compact lollipops of pure purple ensuring that it has become more and more popular.

Mr Pearson said that the Silver Chimes variety is also an attractive type of plant. Several of its white flowers are gathered together on a single stem, which led the expert to weave them in to the base of a hedge on either side of a perch in his vegetable garden.

He explained that this is a good use of showy flowers that look like they would be at home in a florist's. Pipit is another example of this kind of plant – and this is characterised by a lemony stain. Along with Silver Chimes, it is heavily perfumed, so could also be suited to picking for inside the home later in the year.

Speaking to the Cincinnati Enquirer, landscape architect Tom Fryman of Natorp's and zoo horticulturist Steve Foltz advised anyone thinking of investing in some bulbs head to a local nursery before turning to a big-box home and garden center or internet outlet.

Mr Foltz warned people to be very careful when it comes to purchasing online. He acknowledged that a wide variety always appears to be available, so finding anything in particular is not the issue. "But that's when you run into problems with dried out bulbs," he commented.

"Go to one of our better garden stores with a bulb catalog in hand," he suggested, adding: "Give our local nurseries first shot, then go online if they don't have it."

When it comes to planting, Mr Pearson said that it is better to have larger numbers of a small range of varieties, rather than picking a selection that is too diverse. Careful planning can lead to bulbs that flower at different times throughout the year, which will ensure the garden is attractively in bloom throughout the spring.

"Checkered Fritillaria meleagris (Snakeshead Fritillary) should do well on our heavy soil as it lies wet in winter," the expert stated, adding: "The summer Snowflake, Leucojum aestivum "Gravetye Giant", will like it too, as will Tulipa sprengeri."

Another tip offered by the expert involved ensuring that the bulbs are planted deep enough. Most of them do very well when they are planted between two and two and a half times their own depth.

Most bulbs like to be planted two to two and a half times their own depth. "Moisture loving Snakeshead Fritillary are the exception, their hazelnut sized bulbs doing better when planted six inches deep," Mr Pearson continued.