The basics of flowering bulb planting
Who’s been messing with the thermostat this week? Right up until the kids when back to school the weather was brilliant, wall to wall sunshine. As soon as they went back, autumn appeared and the temperature tumbled. Well that’s certainly the view of the present Mrs Cox. I arrived home from work last Thursday to find her sat in the front room wearing everything she owned with a cup of beefy Bovril in order to keep warm. She’s a stickler for only switching the central heating on after November 1.
There can be no doubt that autumn is upon us and with the days getting cooler and shorter it means it’s time to start planning and planting for next spring. For me I find it life affirming to see daffodils and snowdrops wake from their winter slumber and bring life and colour back to the garden after what feels like the longest season of the year. With that in mind I’ll get onto the basics of flowering bulb planting and I’ll talk about how to create a succession planted container in a few weeks’ time. So please look out for that.
When I plant flower bulbs in my flower borders I like to make the planting as naturalistic as possible and the easiest way of accomplishing this is to simple toss a handful of your chosen bulbs onto the soil, throwing them in multiple directions. Wherever they land is where you will plant them.
Spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths can be planted now or at least by the end of September. I’d normally plant my lilies, alliums and crocosmia bulbs towards the end of September/beginning of October and my tulips I’d plant in November.
The majority of bulbs will grow best in a sunny, well drained spot within the garden and a simple rule of thumb is to plant the bulbs to two to three times their height depth. So if the bulb is 4cm tall then it would need to be planted between 8cm-12cm deep. That said, just check the planting guide on the back of your bulb packet as there are always exceptions to the rule.
Using a garden trowel, dig the hole where the bulb lays and plant the bulb into the base of the hole with the shoot facing upwards. Just a word of note, try to make sure that there’s at least 10cm between bulbs. Again, just check the packet. Cover them with soil and gently firm the soil down before moving onto the next bulb. Once planted, try not to walk over the bulbs as there is a chance that you’ll damage the bulb. If the soil is moist then there is no need to water them in. If it’s dry then water them.
I also find that following a freshly brewed cup of tea, bulb planting seems easier.Subsequently, a cup of restorative tea following the bulb planting task restores best when partnered with a fig roll.
More by this authorJeremy Ransome