SWITCH ON TO BULBS

In­spired by Dan­ish guru Claus Dalby, Diar­muid out­lines his colour­ful plans for ev­ery sea­son

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Next, put a layer of com­post about 5ins down so bulbs have ad­e­quate depth to root into. Place bulbs fairly closely to­gether – they should be planted at a depth of three to four times their height so, de­pend­ing on the pot size, you may need to layer more com­post. Wa­ter in and if squir­rels are a prob­lem in your area, cover with a wire mesh un­til spring.

Tulips are beau­ti­ful but short-lived so I want plenty to look for­ward to af­ter them.

Bring on the al­li­ums – I just love their pom-pom heads pop­ping up around the gar­den. I’m plant­ing Christophii which has lots of small star-shaped metal­lic – tinged pur­ple flow­ers and Mount Ever­est – big and white as the name sug­gests!

And for some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent, I’ll use the Si­cil­ian honey gar­lic Nec­taroscor­dum which has del­i­cate small cream and pur­ple bell-shaped flow­ers. Plant al­li­ums in full sun­shine and well-drained soil.

In June, I’m look­ing for­ward to the Madonna Lily – big white flow­ers and great fra­grance. These like to be planted quite shal­low so the sun can bake them.

These will be fol­lowed by some deep red martagon lilies (‘Claude Shride’) – in con­trast these like to be about 6ins deep in rich soil, and in sun or par­tial shade.

Nei­ther lily is a good idea if you have cats as all parts are pretty toxic for them. Other good choices for early sum­mer flow­er­ing bulbs are Ca­mas­sia and Star of Beth­le­hem.

I’ve got a busy time ahead of me putting all of these bulbs to bed but I’ll en­joy imag­in­ing how they will look next spring and sum­mer!

Claus Dalby, above, and one of his spring flower dis­plays, be­low ‘Negrita’ tulip

‘An­gelique’ tulip

Martagon lily

Paper­white daf­fodil

Mount Ever­est al­lium

‘Prinses Irene’ tulip

‘Black Par­rot’ tulip

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