Inspiration and ideas from your own gardens
Spotlight: Autumn Flowering Bulbs
With August coming around again seemingly quicker every year, I am finally able to find a free moment to sit down and plan out my garden for the coming year. Autumn through to Winter is a quiet time in most people’s gardens but with our Autumn Flowering Bulbs I can add a fresh burst of colour to my borders as the Summer flowers are fading. The plants that can do this for me include our Colchicums, which are only available until the 15th September, Autumn Flowering Crocus and the Hardy Cyclamen.
Historically used by the Ancient Egyptians as a source of the chemical Colchicine, used for the treatment of gout, Colchicums today are a favourite in Autumn catalogue and will provide clumps of crocus like flowers from the end of Summer throughout Autumn. They like a moisture retentive soil and benefit from a top dressing before they begin to flower but once they establish they will naturalize well. Despite their appearance and the fact that they are often referred to as ‘meadow saffron’, Colchicums have no botanic relationship to the crocus. Interestingly they bear their flowers before their foliage appears, hence their other name of naked ladies. Once this foliage does appear it is quite substantial so they should be planted 10cm deep and 20cm apart, as this foliage makes them heavy feeders so closer planting will exhaust the soil. Alternatively these can be placed on a sunny windowsill without any moisture or soil where they will come into bloom. Once they have flowered they can be planted out in the garden.
As a native of Spain and Northern Africa, Autumn Flowering Crocuses like to be planted in a sunny position in the garden and if they are left undisturbed they will naturalise and rapidly increase from self-sown seed. Like many bulbs and corms they need the warmth of the summer sun to help ripen them for flowering. Another way to get the best out of your Autumn Flowering Crocus is to apply a top layer of potash dressing before they flower to help the crocuses thrive.
Although they will provide flowers in their first year the real beauty of these Hardy Cyclamen comes from the established corms that will provide an abundance of flowers year on year. Grown amongst mature trees, flowering shrubs or in an alpine garden they produce an outstanding show and will self-seed themselves rapidly. Plant the top surface just below soil level and scatter a small amount of leaf mould around them to help retain moisture as Cyclamen perform best in a damp site.
All of our Autumn Flowering Bulbs can be found on our website here and are available in our Autumn 2016 catalogue which, if you have not received, can be requested by e-mail or by telephoning us on 01234 709099.