YOUR GAR­DEN SWITCH ON TO

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - In Business -

THERE’S a gar­dener on In­sta­gram called Claus Dalby. He’s based in Den­mark where he’s quite the gar­den celebrity. His spe­cial­ity on the photo shar­ing site is dis­plays of pots which he tiers us­ing small stands at the gates of his premises.

Ev­ery sea­son he picks a dif­fer­ent theme and ev­ery spring I’m mes­merised by the in­cred­i­ble the­atri­cal dis­play he achieves.

He in­vests a lot in pots, good com­post and bulbs.

The bulbs are planted at this time of the year and kept be­hind the scenes un­til that dra­matic spring day when he builds his pic­ture.

It’s made me re­alise that if you do bulbs, go big, and that’s what I’ve de­cided to do this au­tumn in an­tic­i­pa­tion of next year. I lined up my bulb cat­a­logues, sent off an enor­mous or­der and they have just ar­rived.

First out of the box are the Paper­white daf­fodils and they are for in­doors. Th­ese are multi-head white va­ri­eties with the most de­li­cious per­fume.

They take about eight to 10 0 weeks to flower from plant­ing g so they’ll be ready for Christ­mas and make a won­der­ful gift.

Plant shal­lowly in bowls with the bulbs nearly touch­ing and place some­where bright but cool – a con­ser­va­tory is ideal.

I’m adding to my col­lec­tion n of anemones that ap­pear each ch March un­der the birch trees. This year I’m plant­ing ‘Pink Star’ which will in­te­grate with the ex­ist­ing white and blue va­ri­eties.

I’ll soak them in water the night be­fore to en­sure they are hy­drated be­fore plant­ing two inches deep into the well drained, hu­mus-rich soil be­neath the trees.

Undis­turbed, th­ese will form clumps and start to cre­ate a car­pet.

I’m plant­ing up some pots with early flow­er­ing Iris, us­ing a gritty free-drain­ing com­post. ‘Lady Beatrix Stan­ley’ is my choice here, a lovely rich blue va­ri­ety smelling of vi­o­lets.

April and May will see pots and pots of tulips. I’ve bought 50 of each va­ri­ety for max­i­mum im­pact. ‘Green­star’ has a vase-shaped flower with white petals and a dra­matic green stripe. This will con­trast well with ‘Black Par­rot’, a re­ally dark ma­roon tulip with frilly edges. A flash of or­ange comes with ‘Prinses Irene’ and then lots more pur­ple with ‘Negrita’ and the deep pur­ple black ‘Queen of the Night’ which has grey-green fo­liage.

There’ll be lots of pink too – Claus Dalby, above, and one of his spring flower dis­plays, be­low ‘An­gelique’ is a very del­i­cate shell-like shade, a re­ally di­vine dou­ble late tulip, oth­er­wise known as the pe­ony tulip for its re­sem­blance to that species.

‘Sanne’ is a del­i­cate apri­cot pink and my fi­nal choice is ‘An­gel’s Wish’, a clas­sic white with a dash of cream!

When plant­ing bulbs in pots, en­sure they have drainage holes and layer some peb­bles or bits of bro­ken ter­ra­cotta at the bot­tom – in gen­eral, bulbs do not want to be sit­ting in soggy cold soil. ‘Negrita’ tulip

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 Paper­white daf­fodil Christophii al­lium Mount Ever­est al­lium 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 ‘Black Par­rot’ tulip ‘Prinses Irene’ tulip

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