• Our Top 10 Bulb Planting Tips

    autumn leavesNow Autumn has put in her first appearance and the summer gardens are coming to an end the time is now for planting spring flowering bulbs. To help you in your gardening efforts we’ve put our heads together and come up with our TOP 10 BULB PLANTING HINTS AND TIPS. Do let us know if you have any you’d like to share for the next edition of the newsletter!

    1) Prepare your soil by adding garden compost and, in heavy soils, horticultural grit and sand. For containers use a mix of John Innes No.2 with a little added grit.

    2) Squirrels, rabbits etc just love tulip, crocus and iris bulbs (amongst others). Aside from choosing Animal Resistant bulbs (use our special filter on the website) try planting your bulbs in an open weave net bag, such as an onion bag making sure the holes are big enough for the shoots to come through. Plant the whole bag in the ground and deprive the furry critters of their bulb feast.

    3) For a good rule of thumb, plant your bulbs three to four times as deep as they are high. Tulips and daffodils should be planted at least 15cm deep.

    Crocus Aitchisonii Naturalising bulbs such as crocuses look great in a lawn

    4) Running out of space in your garden? Try planting a mix of early flowering, naturalising bulbs such as snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in your grass. Plant them using a bulb planter randomly across the lawn for a natural splash of spring colour.

    5) If you’re not sure where you have gaps in your spring planting try planting a selection of bulbs in pots ready to transplant into the spaces once the shoots start to show.

    6) Not all bulbs need dry conditions to flourish. In damp areas try Camassias or Fritillaria Meleagris.

     

    7) Not all bulbs need sun! Erythronium, Wood Anemone and Scilla Bifolia or Siberica all do well in the shade.

    8) Try using layer planting in containers for weeks of flowers or plant en masse in your borders for dramatic effect. Give us a call if you’d like more help with choosing suitable varieties.

    9) Water your bulbs as soon as you have planted them. This encourages root growth.

    10) If left in the ground, tulips degenerate year on year. To preserve your favourites, remove the seed head after flowering and let the foliage die back before lifting the bulbs. Store in net bags in a cool, dry place until you plant them out in the following autumn.

  • The beauty of Iris Germanica and Siberica

    Iris Germanica or Bearded Iris have large blade like leaves and large flowers, the flowers have a beautiful structure, three upper petals and three lower petals, the lower petals have soft hairs at the top which gives the name “Bearded Iris.

    Iris Siberica are slimmer family members the flowers are beardless, no hairs on the flowers they have a more delicate look to them Iris Siberica love the sun but will tolerate partial shade they will also take more moisture than Germanica although they do not like waterlogged soil, the leaves are more grass like unlike the thicker fleshy Iris Germanica and they will tolerate any soil from light to heavy. Iris Germanica and Siberica are easy to grow, plant in a sunny position where their rhizomes can bake in the sun, don’t plant with ground cover plants as they can hide the rhizomes from the sun.

    Bearded Iris like a soil with good drainage they like a neutral soil but will cope if the soil is chalky or alkaline, if you have clay or heavy soil add in some grit to help with the drainage. Our iris are bare rooted if you can’t plant straight away put in some damp compost otherwise give then a light soak to plump up the rhizomes and plant at soil level spreading the roots a little; give them about 30cm spacing, give them a good high potash feed while they are growing always avoid high nitrogen fertilizer, once the flowers have faded bone meal will give them a boost to help see them through the winter.

    Iris Germanica (Bearded Iris) and Iris Siberica are excellent perennial plants perfect for the middle to back of the border where these statement perennial plants can bring pazzaz and a little of the wow factor; Iris are ideal for the cottage to the modern contemporary garden and because they divide so easily are excellent value for money.

    When the Iris have established after 3 to 4 years you can divided the Iris to make new plants this also stops them from becoming woody which results in fewer and fewer flowers, dig the clump up after flowering using a sharp knife to cut away the leaves to a fan shape around 15 cm in length, each piece should have a portion of the rhizomes around 15 cm long, if the rhizome looks withered they are best discarded.

    Their are not too many problems to look out for but keep an eye out for Rhizome rot this usually shows in the late spring, the first signs of rot start at the base of the stem and travel into the rhizome once infected it will become brown and soft with a distinct rotting smell, as soon as you see this cut away any patches back to good clean root and dust with fungicide.

    Grey mould is another problem you should look out for although it is easy to spot it’s a fuzzy off white or greyish brown spore usually in the leaves, it is vital you do not disturb the plant to much and release the spores in to the air to infect other plants a good idea if to use a fleece cover the iris to help prevent the airborne spread. Cut back and burn any infected growth and treat the plant with an appropriate grey mould fungicide, slugs, snails and thrips can also be a problem.

    Once planted all you have to do is sit back and wait for the show.

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