September/October is the ideal time to plant bulbs in preparation for Spring. Spring colour includes your Daffodils, Snowdrops and Crocuses, your Summer bulbs like Dahlias, Lillies, Red Hot Pokers and Crocosmia need planting in Spring or dividing to rejuvenate the plant. Tuberous or rhizome rooted plants (Begonia’s or Irises) too moved or divided at the turn of the new season.
Daffodils now have so many variations. There are 1,000s that deviate from your egg yolk yellow. It’s smaller cousin Narcissus is equally diverse. Usually you don’t divide daffodils. They do not multiply like Crocosmia so you would usually just plant more. In the event of bulbs being of a healthy size you could slice and plant the divided pieces. In a cluster or a wave are very effective, a border or naturalised in the grass. The downside to naturalised, however, is when they’re spent you mustn’t cut them back. The period to leave them is 6-7 weeks or until the foliage goes limp. This will effect the flowering and the general health of the plant.
Crocuses are one of the 1st to appear and can adapt to a shaded environment. The wild variety is a woodland plant and usually found under tree canopies. Although they do better in full sun, the time of year they appear there’s not much foliage so they adapt. The one important point is the soil must be well drained. They are not fans of rain.
Snowdrops too are a wonderful addition and flower early in the year. The only snag is they don’t last long enough. Maybe 2-3 weeks. The plant can be divided and more plants encouraged. Propagation can also be achieved by seed amongst other methods. They prefer shade to full sun and need no maintenance. They will die back naturally.
Bluebells, although, not a cultivated plant can achieve a breathtaking carpet of colour in April to May. A woodland scene can be replicated with the minimum of effort since they are quick to spread and because of their origins can adapt in shaded areas.
Alliums can be planted for shows in spring to early summer. Do not plant in boggy areas or in heavy soil, they prefer well drained conditions and thrive in sun. They can cope with dry periods and are self reliant. They also attract beneficial insects so bio diverse for your garden.
Plant Tulips for spring colour, they come in a variety of colours and shapes. A hardy specimen, they do well in a sheltered position though. They do not weather well and prefer a full sun aspect. Tulips can ideally be taken out each year and dried out. Often they are left in the ground but will not tolerate over excessive moisture. Discard any diseased, damaged bulbs when storing them.
Grape Hyacinths offer a food source to bees as well as vibrant colour in mid – late spring. The plant has a tendency to seed after flowering, so to retain the vigour of the existing plant it is a good idea to remove the flowerheads. It is, however, not hugely detrimental and division every couple of years will help in their growth.