How to stay worm and cosy at win­ter

Sunday Mirror - - PUZZLES -

How do I keep worms in a wormery warm in win­ter? Do­minic, St Al­bans, Herts DAVID: Wormeries are a great way to cre­ate com­post while re­duc­ing the amount of waste you send to land­fill. Do three things: 1. Po­si­tion the wormery in a shel­tered spot – by a wall or shed – to re­duce breezes. 2. Put a hunk of bread or pasta in to break down and give off heat. 3. Wrap your wormery with bub­ble wrap for warmth. They’ll sur­vive, no prob­lem. Galan­thus (snow­drops) and dwarf Iris – like Iris retic­u­lata – are all latewin­ter flow­er­ing, pop­ping up in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary so they’re among the ear­li­est to ap­pear.

While iris pre­fer full sun, cro­cus and galan­thus like par­tial shade.

This makes them fan­tas­tic for un­der­plant­ing beneath de­cid­u­ous trees and shrubs that lose their leaves for win­ter, since these al­low some light through to the ground come spring. Both are small, at around 10-15cm high, so it’s best to plant lots to make sure flow­ers don’t get lost.

Ap­pear­ing in early to mid-spring, most va­ri­eties of nar­cis­sus (daf­fodils), tulips and hy­acinth pop up next.

If like me you’re a big fan of daffs and want a spring full of them you can get early-flow­er­ing va­ri­eties like ‘Fe­bru­ary Gold’ and ‘Ri­jn­veld’s Early Sen­sa­tion’, which will flower in win­ter, and fol­low them up with March-flow­er­ing ‘Crewenna’ and April-flow­er­ing ‘Dutch­mas­ter’ va­ri­eties.

Plant­ing in clumps of at least six will help to strengthen your dis­play. I love lin­ing the gar­den path with them as a cheer­ful wel­come for vis­i­tors.

Fi­nally, in late spring, al­li­ums join the party. Most va­ri­eties of these pre­fer full sun so bear this in mind when plant­ing. The pretty flow­ers are gen­er­ally showier and larger than ear­lier-flow­er­ing bulbs but they still work best in clumps of sev­eral to­gether for max­i­mum im­pact.

Now that you know when dif­fer­ent bulbs flower, you can put this knowl­edge to good use with layer plant­ing. This en­ables you to plant a range of bulbs with dif­fer­ent flow­er­ing times in a sin­gle con­tainer, without sac­ri­fic­ing any flower space.

To do it take a con­tainer at least 50cm deep and plant bulbs as you would layer a lasagne. Be­gin by adding grit for drainage and part­fill­ing with spe­cial­ist bulb com­post.

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