Tag Archives: Bulbs

Naturalising Narcissi and other bulbs

Now is the time of year to get the bulb catalogues out and start to think about the spring display. Bulbs look great in pots and flower beds, but they come into their own when planted on mass. Sweeps of bulbs along a winding drive, clumps in long grass under fruit trees, or lining the bottom of a hedge, naturalising bulbs make their impact. Here is a selection of good naturalising bulbs, that will bulk up and increase in number, from late January to April.

 G. nivalis

G. nivalis

Galanthus nivalis: The native snowdrop. Plant in sparser grassy areas so they do not get over come, or in woodland margins Plant in groups, well spaced to allow for the bulbs to bulk up. Flowering mid- January to mid-February.

G. 'Atkinsii'

G. ‘Atkinsii’

G. ‘Atkinsii’: taller plants with larger white flowers and green tip markings, than the common snowdrop. Again a good nationalising bulb, plant as above . Flowers January to February.

Crocus ancyrensis ‘ Golden Bunch’: early Dutch crocus, plant in short grass in clumps, in sunny areas. Thin dirk green leaves with central sliver stripe. Egg yolk yellow bowl shaped flowers that when the sun is shinning, open flat to show orange stamens. Flowering February to March.

C.etrusus 'Zwanenbury'

C.etrusus ‘Zwanenbury’

C. etrusus ‘Zwanenburg’: again an early Dutch crocus, plant as above. Wider leaves with a more pronounced sliver stripe. Soft mauve flowers with lower grey/white base, again stunning when the sun is shinning and they open up fully.

Both these crocus bulk up well, as long as the mice do not get feeding. My top tip, would be to plant them on a south facing bank, where they can really be seen at their best in the early spring.

 N. 'Mount Hood'

N. ‘Mount Hood’

Narcissi ‘Mount Hood’: A good naturalising mid season Daffodil. With white/cream trumpet and white slightly refluxing petals, at 35-40cm tall. Plant in dense sweeps or irregular clumps to give a natural look. Allow room for the bulbs to increase. Flowering late March to mid- April.

N.poeticus recurvus

N.poeticus recurvus

N.poeticus recurvus: The old fashioned and much loved ‘Pheasant eye’ Narcissus. This late flowering bulb looks wonderful planted in an orchard in great sweeps under fruit trees which will have blossom at the same time. Tall at 40-45cm. An open flower of flat white almost papery petals and a small shallow orange red tinged central cup and low soft yellow stamens, with a delicate scent. Flowering mid April into early May.

All these bulbs do best in a sunny spot,apart from the snowdrops that can cope with the woodland edge. So get ordering your bulbs now for October/ November planting. Follow carefully the bulb nurseries planting instructions, particularly about bulb planting depths. Most people tent to plant their bulbs to close to the surface, in shallow scoops particularity when planting in grassland. Always wait till there has been a good quantity of autumn rain to help soften the ground up first. Also if you are planting a lot, which you will have to do if you want sweeps of natural looking bulbs, it will be in the hundreds, a bulb trowel or bulb planter will be invaluable.

So get cracking now for a wondrous bulb displays next spring.

In Delight of the not so humble Daffodil

As the early snowdrops fade away the first real signs of spring emerge in the from of the often taken for granted daffodil. There is so much more to this wonderful genus of bulbs, than bright large custard yellow trumpets on stout stems. They come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and delicate colours and a long flowering season from January to May, there must surely be one to suit every one and most garden positions.

The Earlys; adding a brilliant splash of golden colour on a dreary January day.
Narcissi Rijnevels early sensation, is the earliest of them all and well worth a secluded spot near the house.

N.Rijnveld's early sensatio

N.Rijnveld’s early sensatio

Another of my faverate is the elegant N. ‘peeping Tom’ flowering January to

N.'Peeping Tom'

N.’Peeping Tom’

Of course one of the wondrous early spring sights is great sweeps of daffodils planted in lawns and under trees naturalising into great blocks of planting. These two varieties are well known for their ability to multiply.

Naturalising; N. mounthood, white outer petals with a cream trumpet, make this a good mid season faverate flowering in April.

N.mount hood

N.mount hood

N. poeticus recurrus, this is the old pheasant eye narcissi and is a late season sensation flowering in May, the delicate white outer petals make it ideal under planting in Orchards with blossom in flower at the same time.

N.poeticus recurrus

N.poeticus recurrus

For pots and rockeries, smaller varieties are needed.

Dwarf Varieties; N. Little Gem, a clear yellow, 15-20cm flowering in April.

N.Little Gem

N.Little Gem

N. Jack Snipe a good reliable variety with cream petals and a lemon trumpet 15cm flowering in March.

Scented Narcissi are an added treat for the early spring garden, plant them on the corner of paths or next to the back door, an enclosed courtyard will give maximum effect. Or just grow them to have as cut flowers; in a large jug with some spring stems of coloured dog wood and hazel with catkins, their scent will fill a room.

Scented Narcissi; N.fragrant Rose, a delicate variety with creamy petals and a rose pink central cup, very fragrant flowers, April.

N. Fragant Rose

N. Fragant Rose

N. cheerfulness, small creamy white, multi-headed double clusters are borne on each stem. Good scent, flowering in April.

N. Fragant Rose

N. Fragant Rose

So now is the time to get inspired take notes of the different varieties of daffodils you see flowering and what you may want to plant for next season. Also spot those areas of the garden where a bright daffodil splash will add that extra spring lift to your garden. They will tolerate most growing conditions apart from deep shade and water logging. The shorter varieties will even cope with quite exposed sites. You want to be ordering your bulbs August/September for October delivery, with planting up to beginning of December, but no latter.

So happy Narcissi spotting!