GAR­DEN­ING WITH DEBBI

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page -

WHAT a dif­fer­ence bulbs can make to a dull win­ter gar­den.

Many ‘spring’ flow­er­ing bulbs ac­tu­ally bloom dur­ing the cold win­ter months, adding colour and fra­grance to the gar­den when it is most needed.

They are the first hint that spring is not far away.

Bulbs can be mass planted in groups, in gar­den beds or un­der trees.

They also look great nat­u­ralised in a meadow gar­den or grouped to­gether in pots and con­tain­ers.

There are lots of old favourites, and each year there are new va­ri­eties avail­able.

Freesias, tulips, anemones, ra­nun­cu­lus and hy­acinths are just some of flow­ers that bloom freely through late win­ter and early spring.

But the high­light in my gar­den is the ever ex­pand­ing dis­play of daf­fodils and jon­quils. Each year new va­ri­eties are planted. Both daf­fodils and jon­quils be­long to the Nar­cis­sus fam­ily, with hun­dreds of va­ri­eties avail­able, but there is a dif­fer­ence.

Daf­fodils are usu­ally the big­ger, showy trum­pet shaped blooms, of­ten yel­low but come in range of colours in­clud­ing cream and white, every shade of lemon and yel­low, with con­trast­ing colours of pink, or­ange, peach and red.

Dou­ble and sin­gle forms are avail­able, as well as ruf­fled forms.

They have a sin­gle bloom per stem and have flat leaves.

Jon­quils tend to have clus­ters of sev­eral flow­ers, in­stead of just one bloom per stem, and have tube shaped leaves.

They have sin­gle or dou­ble flow­ers in shades of white, yel­low and or­ange.

They are also scented, but the per­fume varies with dif­fer­ent jon­quils and some have a sweeter scent than others.

Va­ri­eties are clas­si­fied as ei­ther early, mid or late sea­son flow­er­ing, with the ear­li­est bloom­ing in July, and the later va­ri­eties flow­er­ing in Oc­to­ber, and lots of others in be­tween.

With care­ful se­lec­tion and plan­ning, it is pos­si­ble to have daf­fodils and jon­quils bloom­ing in your gar­den for up to four months of the year.

Bulbs are the per­fect link be­tween win­ter and spring.

Happy gar­den­ing.

WITH DEBBI GIB­SON, HOR­TI­CUL­TUR­AL­IST

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