Planting bulbs now in autumn for spring colour is a quick and simple job, which with a little patience, brings huge rewards. Why not get the kids to help you? It’s a great way to teach them about how plants grow, and they’ll wait with eager anticipation to see the results of their handiwork in spring.
Daffodils / Narcissus
They do great in borders, around shrubs and poking up through lawns too. They are versatile and will grow in most soil types in sun or partial shade. For classic yellow / white in miniature size try “Tete-a-Tete” / “Snow Baby” (15cm in height), or “Minnow” (25cm in height) ,and if you’re looking for normal size daffodils ( 35-40 cm) “King Alfred”, ”Golden Trumpets”, ”Paperwhite” or “Ice Follies” could be a great choice. Stagger the planting over a few weeks in the autumn and winter if you want to and this will result in the blooms opening up over a longer period in the spring.
Next up, is the tulip which provides a welcome hit of rich colour in spring. They look especially stunning in containers, planted up with other bulbs. It will grow in any soil but doesn’t like it too dry. Try the incredible black tulips like” Queen of Night” or “Paul Scherer” or create a classic black and white look by combining them with “Catherina” or enjoy the bright orange colours of “Ballerina”, red “Lalibela” or pink “Holland Beauty”.
Galanthus / Snowdrops
These are always a happy sight in late winter being the sign of spring ,they awaken the rest of the garden with their nodding flowerheads. Snowdrops grow vigorously into clumps and thrive in moist soil. They will bloom in shady spots and are ideal under trees.
The polka-dotted beauty of Fritillaria Meleagris is admired in the plant world. They need a sunny to lightly shaded spot in well-drained soil.
Crocuses are some of the best known of the autumn bulbs for the garden and most prefer a sunny sheltered site with gritty soil. For a bright orange statement try “Orange Monarch” or for early February flowering and a festival of colours try the “Mixed Species”. Autumn crocus can be spoiled by wet weather so plant them beneath trees and shrubs where their brilliant display will be protected from heavy rains.
Muscari makes a striking and unusual container display. These plants will grow vigorously in full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil.
For early colour, iris looks best planted in clusters, need a balanced, well-drained soil but very adaptable to a variety of soil types. Keep low-growing varieties at the front of the border or raise them in pots to appreciate their colours and markings. Iris reticulata “Harmony” has royal blue flowers with white and yellow patterns, ideal for garden fragrance.
Hyacinths are amazingly fragrant, they grow well both indoors and outdoors and suit containers as well as flower beds. Prefers sun or partial shade and well-drained, fertile soil.
The fabulous Alliums bring up immediate visions of night falling upon a wild landscape. It adores sunlight and prefers well-drained soil. Allium “Sphaerocephalon” bulbs produce egg-shaped flowers on tall flexible stems that sway gracefully in the breeze, perfect for planting amongst grasses, meadow or in clumps in the garden border. “Gladiator” or “Globemaster” species have spectacular lilac-purple flowers. Alliums are bee and pollinator friendly, drought tolerant and long lasting as a cut flower.
A few hours one brisk autumn afternoon can yield months of colourful excitement in your yard or garden next spring.
Let your imagination take over and enjoy the ride! Happy gardening!