Bulbs for spring planting
Snowdrops are just starting to come into flower in North Cumbria and in no time at all we’ll see Wordsworth’s “hosts of golden daffodils” in Grasmere gardens and across the county. Planted (or lifted, split and replanted) last year, these spring flowering bulbs are always popular as the first signs of growth and new life in Cumbrian gardens. And bulbs are great for pots and planters too, giving gardeners flexibility as well as safeguards if the soil in beds gets very wet or takes longer than normal to warm up in the spring.
Some of our clients get worried that they’ve missed the boat for planting bulbs at this time of year but, in fact, February is the ideal time to be sourcing and planting lilies and you may still find alliums available. Lilies are recognised for adding strong colour and scent to gardens and I often recommend alliums as plants to add height and interest as well as structure and, of course, the impact of their distinctive shades of purple.
Thompson and Morgan and Peter Nyssen have a good selection of allium and lily bulbs and I’d also recommend Sarah Raven’s website for her planting advice and selection packages to give you variety and choice. Thompson and Morgan’s Allium Collection contains 100 bulbs with a mixture of Allium aflatunese, Allium sphaerocephalon, Allium caeruleum and Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Sarah Raven’s Scented Lily collection includes Lilium regale, one of the most famously perfect lilies, Lily 'Casa Blanca' and the spectacular Lily 'Muscadet'.
If you’re planting into beds, the rule is to bury bulbs about 3x their height beneath the ground. And the same goes for planting them in pots and planters – follow instructions for depth and also spacing between bulbs to give them their best chance of thriving. Don’t forget to incorporate good drainage and keep them in your sunniest spots to encourage growth and flowering.