Now is the time to start planting bulbs for spring flowering. Most of us think of Daffodils (Narcissus) and Tulips first when we think of spring flowering bulbs and with all the new varieties now available you can get a very long lasting and colourful display using just these bulbs. However, if you look more deeply, there are a great many other types of bulbs available which will not cost a fortune and which will make your spring flower display much more interesting.
First there are winter aconites. These actually flower during the winter (so they are not in fact spiring bulbs at all). They are really great flowers. They look very like buttercups when in flower but they do flower all winter, even under snow. I find them really inspiring. If delicate flowers like these can survive in the really bad weather, so can I!. Thompson and Morgan are now offering these bulbs at 24 bulbs for £6.99. If you want larger quantities, they come at discounts. Like most bulbs, these will increase in number year on year – and you can leave these bulbs in the ground from one year to the next.
Now for some real spring flowering bulbs. Alliums have become very fashionable in the last few years – with good reason. They are really showy flowers and the different varieties really are different both in shape and colour. Although Allium are the same family as onions (that shows in some of them in the shape and colour of the flower), most do not in fact smell of onion. T & M are offering a collection which they call ‘Allium Cotttage Garden Mixed which are 50 bulbs for £9.99. They flower from late sping to early summer and make great dried flowers. If you want named varietries, Thompson and Morgan are also offering 4 other types of Allium including the most popular, Purple Sensation.
For something different, why not try Brodiaea Laxa Royal Blue. This is also known as the Harvest Lily. This is the first time this variety has been offered in the U.K. so you will be sure to be asked what they are. They have sturdy stems which hold up to 25 brilliant lilac-blue flowers which look like miniature roses. Theie foliage is grass-like and it dies back when they flower so that they stand out more. They are relatively expensive (10 bulbs and £9.99) but because they have so many flower heads per plant this is more acceptable. The price also reflects the newness of the variety.
If you are looking for a larger number of bulbs for less expense, why not try one of Thompson and Morgan’s collections. The first they call ‘Bumper Pack Bulbs’ . These are 125 bulbs for £9.99. They include 30 Allium Ostrowskanum; 30 Anemone De Caen; 30 Oxalis Iron Cross; 25 Crocus and 25 Daffodil Tet a Tete. This will give you flowers over a long period of time in a great many colours, shapes and heights.
The second Pack I am going to talk about is T & M’s ‘Nature Bulb Pack’ Basically this means that all the bulbs are native English flowers which will naturalise easily should you wish but will look equally good in flower beds., although to get the best effect they should be planted under trees (or Deciduous shrubs). This pack include 5 wood Anemones; 25 Snakeshead Fritillaria; 10 Lily of the Valley and 10 English Bluebells. Tis pack costs £9.99 for 50 bulbs.
I like to plant my bulbs ‘en masse’ in random patterns and to do this, I just throw the bulbs at the ground and plant them where they land. Be aware though that Lile of the Valleyt will flower much better (and will increase in number if they are planted and left to do their own thing. They even resent being weeded to much, so plant them in a corner and leave them alone. You will trewarded with a charming, scented display year after year.