Extend the planting season with bulbs

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GOLD!!! RHS Hampton Court Thanks
August 24, 2015
Ann-Marie to speak at the Landscape Show 2015
September 15, 2015







At Ann-Marie Powell Gardens we like to extend the planting season. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is with bulbs. They add depth and interest to borders, whilst taking up a minimum of planting space. Press ‘Continue Reading’ below to discover how we do it!

What appears when?

The first to appear in late winter are the snowdrops (Galanthus) and winter aconites (Eranthis), quickly followed by early Narcissus, Crocus, Chionodoxa, dwarf Iris, Scilla and Anemone blanda. 

Mid-spring, sees the arrival of drifting bright or pastel shades of Daffodil and Tulip, followed in early summer with Allium, Galtonia and Hymenocallis naricissiflora, then later the colourful highlights of late summer Gladioli, Crinum, Dahlia, and Crocosmia, which can continue bloom into deepest autumn. 

If you blend early, mid-season, and late varieties, you can enjoy the exotic bloom and seductive scents of Lilies through early summer right until the first frosts. 

Finally, autumn- flowering nerine, crocus, colchicums and cyclamen persist into winter when if nurtured, the bulb cycle will recommence.


How many bulbs should I plant?

Our advice is think big, whichever bulb you’re planting, a pack of 10 will be lost in even the smallest of gardens; be brave and think in 100s to achieve the most dramatic impact.


What colours should I choose?

In our Studio we like to be adventurous with colour, but limit your palette, resisting the urge to mix too many colours together. Grouping colour themes by your bulbs’ flowering periods allows one to change the colour themes through the year without diluting the overall effect. 


Tips for planting bulbs-

Don’t plant in rows; we ask our planting team to scatter bulbs randomly through planting areas for a more natural effect.

We like to plant our bulbs through perennials and ornamental grasses; a bulb’s dying foliage is camouflaged by the new growth of surrounding plants.

Don’t forget about scented bulbs; choose hyacinths, bluebells, scented daffodils and tulips for spring, and lilies and crinums for summer displays.

Each bulb should be planted a minimum of least twice its depth, but we prefer to plant deeply, three times as deep to promote a good display year on year.

Layering bulbs isn’t just reserved for pots; consider planting summer and autumn blooming bulbs in the same space as spring bulbs for a second or even third pop of colour later in the year.

Excepting those bulbs that are arguably best planted in the green (Snowdrops, bluebells, aconites and wood anemones) when buying bulbs, buy them plump and large; the more mature the bulb the more spectacular the display.

If you’re planting bulbs in grassed areas, give the area a late mow before planting your bulbs so you can more easily appreciate flowers rising above the sward next spring.