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Anticipation of what is to come is one of the great motivators for gardeners and autumn can be a season full of expectation.

It’s the perfect time to make plans for next spring and to set them in motion by planting bulbs.

Gardening doesn’t get any easier than bulb planting and the results will bring welcome colour to borders and containers after the dark days of winter.

Choose your bulbs well and you can have flowering displays right through spring, starting with snowdrops, then crocus, hyacinths, narcissus, and tulips.

  • An easy and satisfying task that is a great entry point to gardening
  • Gives you more plants to choose from than if you just stick to seeds
  • Perfect for planting in the autumn
  • Planting bulbs is an ideal task to show children the basics of planting, watering and taking care of a plant
  • If your children can help you to choose which bulbs you'd like to plant, they may be more invested and want to help out
  • Hand rails and resting places can ease the strain of moving around the garden
  • You might find it easier to move your equipment around the garden in relay fashion e.g. taking your chair out first, then your tools
  • If you are recovering from an illness or coping with the effect of a stroke or heart disease, you can use an activity like planting bulbs to try to build your strength and coordination.
Bulbs

If planting bulbs individually, use a trowel or a bulb planter to make a hole and put them in the soil at the specified spacing and depth (two or three times their own size) with the pointy end upwards. A layer of grit at the bottom of the hole will prevent the bulb rotting.

Cover with soil and gently tamp down with the back of a rake, rake it over and water. Mark where the bulbs are so you don’t accidentally dig them out or skewer them with a fork.

If you don’t want to plant individual bulbs, you can uncover a larger area for planting, dotting them around existing plants which will mask dying foliage. Bulbs look better in blocks of odd numbers.

Bulbs can also work well growing through your grass, creating swathes of colour.

The naturalised and less regimented look can be achieved by scattering handfuls and planting them where they land, although a bulb planter is recommended to make the job easier and quicker. Smaller bulbs such as crocus, can be planted by lifting back the turf, popping them in the soil and recovering with the turf.

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Daffodils are the symbol of spring and there are varieties that can flower at different times of the season. Narcissus ‘February Gold’ will give early colour, while ‘Dutch Master’ will put on a show in mid-spring.

Alliums bring gorgeous colour and elegant shape to any garden and will give you wonderful early summer displays year after year. Allium ‘Globemaster’ and Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ are two excellent lookers.

Bulbs to consider for growing in grass include Fritillaria meleagris, crocus and snowdrop.

Now’s a good time to order bulbs and there are many specialised suppliers offering a huge range of flowers. If buying from a garden centre, pick decent size bulbs that are firm, with unbroken covering membranes.

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Rebecca H potting up Charlie Garner 2019 2