As au­tumn sweeps in we look at what to ex­pect in the world of in­te­ri­ors,

At this time of year, it’s a de­light to plan for spring and a car­pet of white will brighten up dull days

Gloucestershire Echo - - PROPERTY & LIVING -

MY JOB at the mo­ment is de­vis­ing a plant­ing scheme for a pri­vate gar­den. I have se­lected a de­light­ful col­lec­tion of peren­ni­als, grasses and roses for a one-and-a-half me­tre deep, long curved bor­der.

But the real de­light at this time of year is to plan for my own gar­den and start plant­ing the first bulbs of win­ter and spring.

This year I’m go­ing for a white theme. The rea­son is be­cause white looks so pure against the dark soil and the de­cay­ing mat­ter of the pre­vi­ous year’s gar­den. It pushes up like a fresh harbinger of what is to come, its pu­rity sparkles and lights up dull days. The first area I’ll tackle is the dry soil un­der my birch trees in the front gar­den. I’ve al­ready got plenty of blue flow­er­ing bulbs here such as anemones, blue­bells, hy­acinth and chion­o­doxa, as well as some pur­ple and yel­low cro­cuses.

Into this mix I’m go­ing to add some gi­ant white cro­cus ‘Jeanne d’arc’ which have gor­geous pure white petals with bright yel­low sta­mens. These lit­tle bulbs are so easy to plant – just press them a cou­ple of inches un­der the soil.

I’ll also use some white anemone ‘White Splen­dour.’ Anemone blanda spreads very eas­ily to form a car­pet of pretty daisy flow­ers in this soil. It’s a good idea to soak the bulbs for a cou­ple of hours or even overnight be­fore plant­ing for best re­sults.

I’d love dog’s tooth vi­o­let (Ery­thro­nium dens-ca­nis) and there is a beau­ti­ful cul­ti­var ‘White Beauty’ with mar­bled leaves and gentle re-curved petals. How­ever, these are not suit­able for dry soil – they need some mois­ture or they will dry up. White mus­cari is an op­tion. ‘White Magic’ will nat­u­ralise well but is also per­fect for win­dow boxes.

For max­i­mum scent, hy­acinths are al­ways su­perb. I’ve some blue ones that were orig­i­nally forced for in­doors at Christ­mas which I then planted out af­ter flow­er­ing into the gar­den.

While they come up much later when left to flower nat­u­rally, the per­fume they emit is in­tox­i­cat­ing – def­i­nitely one for the path­way to the front door.

Daf­fodils are a must – I have lots of ‘tête-à-tête,’ the lit­tle yel­low one, and there is a white ver­sion of this avail­able as well. These dwarf nar­cissi are also per­fect for rock­eries and con­tainer gardening. I’m also think­ing of ‘Thalia,’ a re­ally el­e­gant old­fash­ioned white daf­fodil. It’s not a showy va­ri­ety but planted en masse it looks mag­nif­i­cent.

White flow­er­ing tulips will look su­per in sim­ple ter­ra­cotta pots. ‘Shirley’ is a sim­ple ivory-white flower with a very sub­tle pur­ple out­line on the petals. How­ever, it’s a bit early to get go­ing on tulip plant­ing in Septem­ber – this job is best left un­til Novem­ber to avoid the risk of tulip blight. My fi­nal choice is a much later flow­er­ing bulb, al­lium. ‘Mount Ever­est’ has a big white globe of flower and to my mind is the best large white al­lium. For a pop of white hov­er­ing over your bor­ders in May and June, this ar­chi­tec­tural three-footer will de­light not just you but bees on the hunt for nec­tar.

Al­lium stip­i­ta­tum ‘Mount Ever­est’

Daf­fodil ‘Thalia’

Anemone ‘White Splen­dour’

Hy­acinth ‘White Magic’

Dog’s Tooth Vi­o­let Ery­thro­nium ‘White Beauty’

Gi­ant White Cro­cus ‘Jeanne D’arc’

White tulips look great in ter­ra­cotta pots

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