How to stay worm and cosy at winter
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.