I select reliable and recommended varieties and under plant them in generous drifts to create impact and a successional effect. A good rule of thumb is to have a limited amount of species but in a large quantity to get impact.
Spring bulbs – planted in autumn
Mini Daffodils such as Narcissus tete a tete are popular for a good reason too – 15cm tall, robust splashes of colour. Good on banks and in pots.
For meadow areas, naturalising daffodils (which will seed and spread over time) Narcissus recurvus, around 40cm tall. A tastefully pale flower with a pheasants eye centre is good for pollinators.
For maximum colour options – tulips are the ‘go to’, however not all tulips will reliably come back each year so I tend to group them in small beds or containers which can be positioned and retrieved. Tulips like sun and warmth. I often mix 2 colours together and repeat the clumps around the garden. Tip; Later tulips are less likely to get weather beaten if you’re choosing for an exposed site.
Summer bulbs ( also planted in autumn)
Alliums – I use the drumstick allium – The almost unpronouncable Allium sphaerocephalon. (50cm tall) In generous drifts through grasses and sedums and asters – the bees love this one! It will set seed and naturalise too.
Also Allium atropurpureum, at 80cm tall, is elegant and dark coloured – perfect for planting through taller perrenials.
Camassia around 60cm tall – I describe this as being like a giant bluebell, Excellent in borders and meadow areas, with moist soil, and lightly shaded parts of the garden. I grow the white variety at home, its marvellous watching it open up as it gets taller.
Remember to think about storing bulbs carefully whist waiting to plant them, and think about protection from pests – pheasants, cats, birds and mice can be a real nuisance. Chicken wire over pots, or pea netting under turf for large area meadow areas can help.
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