The game.

Ev­ery gar­dener loves to see the bulbs ap­pear­ing on the shelves of the gar­den cen­tres ready for au­tumn plant­ing and a fab­u­lous spring show. Han­nah Stephen­son makes sure you are ahead of

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - East Kent Property - - Gardens -

be afraid of plant­ing big, bold bulbs en masse in big­ger pots be­cause, pro­vided they are in a fairly shel­tered spot away from strong winds, they should give you a stun­ning dis­play. Crown im­pe­ri­als look im­pres­sive planted in groups of three in large metal con­tain­ers in a con­tem­po­rary set­ting, along­side trimmed box and other ar­chi­tec­tural plants, while nar­cissi with stout stems, such as Bri­dal Crown, will pro­vide long-last­ing blooms and won’t top­ple over in cooler sit­u­a­tions. Many gar­den­ers opt for lay­er­ing bulbs for a con­tin­u­ous dis­play throughout spring. This is done by plant­ing a va­ri­ety of bulbs at dif­fer­ent depths in the pot. For in­stance, in a large con­tainer in­sert larger bulbs such as tulips, cov­er­ing them in com­post, then add an­other layer of medium-sized bulbs such as dwarf nar­cissi and cover these, then fi­nally add small bulbs such as cro­cuses or snow­drops and top them with a fi­nal layer of com­post. The bulbs nearer the top will flower first, then as they die down they will be re­placed by the medium bulbs, which will in turn be re­placed by the larger bulbs later in the sea­son. Recipes might in­clude Scilla siber­ica on the top layer, Nar­cis­sus Tete a Tete in the mid­dle layer and Tulipa Golden Apel­doorn on the bot­tom layer, but there are many other pos­si­bil­i­ties. When plant­ing bulbs, place crocks in the bot­tom of the pot, add 15-20cm of mul­ti­pur­pose com­post with added John Innes or bulb fi­bre and be­gin your lay­er­ing, nestling late-flow­er­ing bulbs into the sur­face of the com­post and adding com­post just to cover the bulbs or leave the tips show­ing. If you leave pots out­side in the win­ter, don’t let them be­come sod­den. Stand the pots on feet to al­low the mois­ture to drain through. How­ever, don’t let the pots dry out ei­ther or it will lead to stunted growth and flow­ers which wilt quickly. It’s a good bet to put the pots by the house in win­ter, mov­ing them to ex­pose them to the el­e­ments from Fe­bru­ary on­wards, so they don’t dry out. Once the bulbs are in flower, wa­ter them ev­ery other day.

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