What should I be doing in the Garden this month?
Bulb Planting Season is Here
Having enjoyed the recent good weather the garden really appreciated the good drenching of rain that I woke up to this morning.
All of our garden's present different challenges. Using pots and containers we can largely replicate any conditions necessary for the bulbs to thrive. We have far more control over the compost, watering, aspect and protection from bad weather.
Of all the spring flowering bulbs for containers, nothing for me has the impact of tulips. Amongst the most outstanding and earliest to bring spring colour are the early single tulips. Planted as both a mixture end in single colours the Prince tulips planted in terracotta pots at Pashley Manor this year were truly breath-taking.
With a little effort, container planting is both an easy and rewarding job. Plant the bulbs in friable soil that has not been excessively fertilised, do not overwater and never compost any part of the plant of fallen petals. No feeding is required until after flowering as the bulbs come with their own food reserves. Excess nitrogen will lead to tall lanky plants with no benefit to the flower size. Always use fresh compost. Use a soil-based compost such as John Innes No2 or add garden soil and grit to your own mix.
The bulbs do not need to be planted too deeply, 10cm (4 inches) is ample. Plant tulip bulbs with the flat side outwards, especially those around the perimeter. The first and largest leaf will grow from this side producing a more balanced effect. During a dry autumn water as necessary until the onset of winter. Note that pots tend to dry from the outside in, bear this in mind particularly in the spring.
Time is marching on. If you have not yet ordered your bulbs the weather outside would suggest that today is a perfect time to do so.