JOHN’S JOURNAL

How To Succeed With Spring Bulbs

It’s a time of year where jobs in the garden begin to wind down, the days are getting shorter and the good days of fine weather can be few and far between, there’s always a few jobs to consider and carry out before you can begin to leave the garden to rest and one of those is your bulb planting! It will leave you one step ahead in Spring and you will reap the rewards of your efforts in colour, fragrance and beauty!

The range of bulbs available nowadays is vast and wide, so many to choose from, there are a few tips to follow though to succeed with them! Firstly it’s the right plant in the right place, Alliums are the number one contender for herbaceous borders, with their upright stems of pom pom ball like flowers in late Spring, the perfect thing to kick start your herbaceous planting, the trick is to also feed them after they flower, don’t be tempted to cut the flower stems off before they have turned brown and also apply a couple of liquid feeds using Tomato food to help promote strong growth underground for the following years displays. Also stick to varieties which you know grow in the north, we only offer a small handful at the nursery as we know these will succeed.

Feeding is a really big point to make with bulbs, they are all set to flower in their first year having been pumped up abroad, however the trick with the second year is giving them that hit of nutrients, and also the right nutrients, tomato food contains everything they need, you could always apply some Vitax Q4 in April and that would do the same thing also.

There are a few bulbs that get forced on early for Christmas, scented Narcissus and also Hyacinths, people often forget that these can be planted outside in the garden afterwards and again with a feed they will come back the following year.

With Tulips it’s all about the drainage, and you can happily grow them in your borders but you just need to look at them as a bit of a bedding plant, a one year wonder, but they are truly worth it with their unique array of colours and stunning form. All bulbs are a great buy at this time of year, you’re not paying for a pot or compost and it’s easy to buy in multiples for greater impact. At the nursery you can also still pick your own, there’s not long left now and when they’re gone they’re gone and we’re already potting up a nice selection aswell for next spring……for those of you who forget to plant them now!

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

 

Can bulbs last for a year if I don’t plant them?

Not really, a bulb is merely a storage organ taking the plant from Summer through until the end of Winter, if you don’t plant it out it will lose all its energy and moisture and then just rot and disappear when you do plant it, the latest is the end of the year, but the prime months are October and November.

Do I need to wait for the frosts to plant Tulips?

Yes this is always the case as if you plant when the soil is too mild it only encourages the disease called Tulip Fire, wait till the frosts have set in and simply keep them stored in a paper bag in a dark, cool and dry place until the time is right.

Can you divide and replant clumps of bulbs?

Yes you can, but any Snowdrops and also Narcissus (Daffodils) like to grow in clumps, it’s a strength in numbers thing and they can sulk a little if planted individually. To divide and replant them it’s always worth planning ahead and marking where the biggest clumps are in the Spring with a short Bamboo cane only sticking out of the ground a few inches, then when you come to find them in the Autumn it’s easily visible and it saves the guesswork!

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

1 – GATHER DISEASED LEAVES

If you’ve had Blackspot on your Roses gather up these leaves and dispose of them, then once they have all fallen apply a fresh mulch around the base

2 – MOVE ALPINE CONTAINERS

Keep an eye on falling leaves and remove and also place them where they get a little shelter from the winter rains, near the house is good 

3 – SUPPORT BRUSSEL SPROUTS

With them beginning to show signs of cropping it’s time to give them a little extra support, we can sometimes get strong snowfall in November!

4 – TEND TO HOUSEPLANTS

Don’t forget to increase the humidity around house plants by standing them in gravel and misting them in a morning, heating can easily dry them out

 

PLANT OF THE WEEK