Monday, 8 April 2013

Scruffy bulbs



As a none digger my soil is undisturbed and there is no accidental damage when bulbs are dormant in Summer. As a result they are all over my garden! Some are in the most unlikely places. Perhaps because I am rather a scruffy gardener, they often grow among strawy debris and  look far from pristine! This  does not detract from the thrill I get as I wander round my garden and find the annual return of strong flowering clumps planted over the years. Spring bulbs do not need lifting and dividing as they  go from strength to strength each  succeeding year.

Iris histrioides Katherine Hodgkin

Hyacinths will soon be in flower

The upside of my inability to see clutter is that all my bulbs die down naturally and do not suffer from any enthusiasm for me to cut them back prematurely when they start to yellow. All my bulbs are allowed to self seed and because my weed control is sound, my soil is always receptive to their germination. Much of the seed requires the next winter’s cold to germinate and it is an extra thrill to find drifts of seedlings emerging amongst the Spring flowers.




Dwarf tulips naturalize well, note one has been visited by a snail
Dwarf varieties are my favourite  kind of bulb and this horrible Winter has not been totally bad news for them. They are very resilient to frost and snow (snowdrops generate their own heat to push through the snow) and surprisingly sturdy with regard to this persistent cold dehydrating wind that has scorched many other Spring flowers. An extra bonus has been that bulbs such as snowdrops have lasted so well and now that mother nature has released her grip we can now look forward to some particularly prolific displays.



Corydalis Beth Evans overwinters as a corm


Pink chionodoxa
It is not my intention today to write about specific bulbs but I cannot resist a special promotion of the commonly overlooked Scilla bifolia. You do not find it in the garden centre and it is usually tucked away in any bulb catalogue. It is my absolute favourite and is a prolific self seeder. If it covers the whole of my garden I will be in heaven.

scilla bifolia





12 comments:

  1. You really have a lot coming up through the snow. Bulbs are always so dependable.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. They are wonderful value Cher, I have a lot more to come, but hopefully there will be no pictures coming through the snow!

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  2. I love the dwarf bulbs too as they don't need 'tidying up'. IS Katherine Hodgkins only just flowering in your garden as ours were over a while ago - it was one bulb that seemed to flower on time, but as you noted with the snowdrops, lasted longer. That crocus is unusual which variety is it

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    1. I had a few very nice Katherine Hodgkin six weeks ago and the one in the photograph appeared two weeks ago and is still looking good. I am afraid this lovely bulb is represented by rather less corms now than the fifty I planted six years ago. Most of my bulbs go from strength to strength as the years pass. Not this one. I say little about past total failures!
      I have planted so many different crocus over the years that I have completely forgotten their names

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  3. It all seems very inspiring and splendid. My garden doesn't like snowdrops. It doesn't like crocuses either. Daffodils do well though. I don't know where the tulips have gone.

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    1. I will be doing another post soon, Esther on how to successfully naturalise bulbs

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  4. The dwarf tulips, I prefer to call them species tulips, are also favorites of mine. Much less fussy, more perennial, great color and interesting shapes, including multiple flowers on a stem.

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    1. Completely agree Jason. I also call them species tulips and have tried most of the ones in Parkers Wholesale catalogue. I have allowed myself in addition to plant a few of the more compact - less than 25cm - named varieties. I am planning a post on my later varieties soon.

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  5. What a delightful selection of spring bulbs/corms Roger. I. Katherine. Hodgkins is a favourite of mine. Lost a few to flooding but 3 single bulbs managed to bloom. Dwarf bulbs are always my first choice as you say they can be easily ignored as they die back.

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    1. I checked it out today. There is still one lovely flower.

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  6. What a fabulous romp through spring flowering bulbs! I agree that the dwarf bulbs have really shown their strength this year. I like your Scilla recommendation. Do you grow Scilla peruviana too?

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  7. Yes I love it! At its best it's magnificent. Some years not quite so good but it has naturalised well.

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