YOUR GARDEN SWITCH ON TO
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