In Your autumn garden

Image by Alana Harris – Unsplash

Autumn is bulb time, to help you get the basics in place for that beautiful flower display in winter, spring and summer here’s a few tips to help you on your way.

Basic rules are that bulbs are planted twice as deep as the bulb is high and the same distance apart.  The right planting depth is important to keep the bulb cool. However, do not plant too deeply as its shoots will fail to reach the surface before its stored energy runs out.  Orientation of your bulb is important – ensure that the pointy growing tip points skyward and the roots downwards. If unsure plant sideways and they will sort themselves out. 

An exception to the rule is:
Anemone coronaria where the point is the root, not the growing tip, hence this is placed downwards.
Also Ranunculus asiatics are a corm which takes on a claw shape. The ‘claw’ is the roots and need to be placed downwards.

A bulb planter is a great tool to have in your kit. This great little tool is marked so you are able to get the planting depth correct for each bulb.

Planting time for bulbs in cooler regions generally is around April and May, later in warmer regions.  Lilliums can be planted winter through to early spring. Plant immediately after delivery, do not allow them to dry out as unlike other bulbs they do not have a dormant cycle.

The ideal soil for bulbs is a neutral pH 7.0 this is important in establishing root health and growth. Well drained or free draining soil to achieve this is a balanced mix of clay, sand, silt and organic matter. You can raise or mound up the garden beds to improve drainage. Alternatively plant and grow your bulbs in pots if your soil is soggy.

Top dress all bulbs in Autumn. Bulbs will benefit if given a second dressing after flowering as this is when they are generating energy that they require to produce next year’s flowers. Bulbs like to be planted in cool soil. If the weather hasn’t dropped below 13˚ you can store them in the fridge for around 5 weeks prior to planting. Tulips require 4-8 weeks in the fridge.

At the end of the season don’t be tempted to cut back the strappy leaves as it is at this point the bulb is generating the next year’s energy. In preference, plant other species to hide the die back such as poppy’s, marigolds, yarrow and euphorbia to name a few.

Go on get out there and plant some bulbs planted in the garden, under trees, in the lawn or in pots and sit back and be rewarded by a wonderful display of colour.
Enjoy your garden – Rebecca Sprosen, Allendale Nursery
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