• Katy Gardener

Bulb planting for Spring Colour

Updated: Apr 20

This week I’m looking at bulbs. From planting to caring for bulbs, I will cover it all here.

Photo credit: Maarten van den Heuvel

Our garden looks like it has the flu, it’s grey and dull and has its winter face on. I'm longing for some colour, which is why my mind turned to Spring bulbs.


Mid November is quite late for bulb planting, but as I did not get myself organised earlier, I decided to use the last window of opportunity and went mad for bulbs at the weekend.


I bought over two hundred bulbs and roped in my father in law Howard, who kindly helped to plant and arrange them.


Watch Howard and me in action:



Before we get into my choice of bulbs and how to care for them, here are some crucial tips for new gardeners when it comes to bulb planting:


3 CRUCIAL TIPS FOR BULB BEGINNERS

  1. Plant a bulb about three times as deep as it is tall

  2. Always plant bulbs with the roots pointing down

  3. Plant in clean, moist soil and make sure there are no weeds in sight


Call a spade a spade. Image credit: Annie Spratt

HOWARD'S TIPS FOR DIGGING EFFICIENTLY

  • Dig your first hole for a bundle of bulbs

  • As you dig, put the soil into a bucket and move the bucket to one side

  • Position the bulbs in the first hole

  • Now dig a second hole and put the soil from the second hole to cover the first hole where the bulbs have just been positioned

  • Repeat this technique until all bulbs are planted

  • Cover over the final hole with the soil form the original bucket

Read on to get information and growing tips for my chosen selection of Spring Bulbs...





SNOWDROP BULBS


Seeing snowdrops shake in the wind is one of the most heartening sites in January. They are the first sign that Spring is imminent.


Shaking snowdrops. Image credit: Lav Kozakijevic
  • Snowdrops, also known as Galanthus are a perennial, but they can take a few years to get going. Expect to plant a few extra bulbs each year if you want to establish them fully in your garden.

  • Plant in a shady spot relatively close together to create a blanket of white flowers.

  • Let snowdrops die down naturally. Don’t remove the leaves from the bulbs as they will allow next year’s flower buds to form.

TULIP BULBS


Flirty tulips are the jazz hands of a Spring flower bed. For our garden I went for a psychedelic colour combination of orange (Ballerina), purple (Queen of the Night & Black Parrot) and white (Emperor). It’s almost bad taste… but let’s see how they look in April!


Multi coloured tulips in action. Image credit Justin Ha
  • Plant Tulip bulbs in November when it’s colder to limit the spread of Tulip Fire spores

  • Leave a little space between each bulb to allow the roots to grow and prevent spread of Tulip Fire

  • Plant in soil that hasn’t had tulips for 3-4 years, or grow in pots with new soil

  • Plant in a sunny position

MUSCARI BULBS


Muscari flowers are powder blue in colour and look like tiny bunches of grapes, which is why they are also known as Grape Hyacinths.


Mescari flowers. Photo credit: Yoksel Zok
  • Muscari bulbs grow best in a sunny and sheltered position

  • Avoid planting Muscari bulbs somewhere extremely wet or extremely dry

  • Be careful where you plant Muscari bulbs as they spread very quickly

ALLIUM BULBS


Alliums are known as ornamental onions with blue or purple flowers that develop into starry spheres. Once the flowering is over, Alliums leave behind architectural seed heads.


Alliums. Image credit: Erds Estremera
  • Allium bulbs should be planted in well drained soil and in a sunny position

  • Easy to grow and hardy. If positioned well, they will multiply each year

  • Alliums look brilliant in borders and with long grasses

Fingers crossed that some, if not all the bulbs will make it. I will report back in the Spring.


If you've got this far, then here's what happened this week!


Jack, Bertie and I went to a baby first aid course. I would highly recommend this to new parents as it gives you much needed confidence, especially at the time of weaning when gagging sounds can be utterly terrifying.



First Aid ready. Photo credit: Garo Uzunyan


We were given a demo of how to do the Heimlich manoeuvre, and then asked to practice with one another. I clearly hadn’t been listening properly as when it came to me demonstrating on poor Jack, I punched him in the stomach and completely winded him in front of the whole class! I was so embarrassed, and Jack was doubled over in pain… it was all totally mortifying!

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