Top 5... summer-flowering bulbs
Plant hardy varieties now for a bumper crop of blooms
Thick-rooted perennials producing a tuft of linear leaves in late spring. Slender spires of starry, blue, purple or white flowers from mid-late May. Any moist, welldrained to damp soil in sun or semi-shade. H: 60-90cm (2-3ft), S: 45-60cm (1½-2ft). Tip Ideal for naturalising in rough grassland.
From www.trecanna.co.uk; tel: 01822 834680.
Striking bulbs with globular heads of flowers, mainly in shades of pink, purple, blue and white, from late May. Attractive seed heads. Good for pollinators. Any well-drained soil in sun. H: 15-90cm (6in-3ft), S: 15-30cm (6in-1ft). Tip Provide sufficient space to avoid them being swamped by surrounding perennials. From www.sarahraven.com; tel: 0345 092 0283.
3 Gladiolus byzantinus
The hardiest species producing spires of cerise-pink, funnel-shaped blooms from late May and June. Makes a good cut flower. Any moist, well-drained soil in sun. Plant corms 10-15cm (4-6in) deep on a bed of sand or fine gravel to aid drainage. Tip Partner with allium ‘Purple Sensation’ for a dramatic effect. From www.crocus.co.uk; tel: 01344 578111.
4 Dutch iris
Rhizomatous perennial with swordlike leaves, producing dramatic multi-coloured blooms in every shade, but particularly blue, yellow, white and bronze in June and July. Any moist, well-drained soil in sun. H: 55cm (1¾ft), S: 20cm (10in).
Tip Plant a range of varieties to use as a cut flower.
From www.dejager.co.uk; tel: 01622 840229.
Popular bulbs producing tall stems covered in pendant cap-shaped or funnel-shaped blossoms. Trumpet and Oriental hybrid types have a strong, sweet scent, others are more subtle. Asiatic types are unscented, but the easiest to grow in moist, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. H: 60cm-1.8m (2-6ft), S: 15-30cm (6in-1ft).
Tip Plant fleshy-leaved bulbs three times their depth so they establish strong root systems.
From www.hwhyde.co.uk; tel: 01189 340011.