Seasonal Bulbs for the Garden

Coming in all colours, sizes and shapes, the flowers of bulbs provide year-round impact in the garden.

Bulbous plants deserve to be popular. Their flowers have some of the most beautiful and striking colours to be found in the garden, and they offer an enormous variety of shapes. They range in height from miniatures, such as crocuses, for the rockery to lilies up to 3m (10ft) tall which should be planted at the back of a border. There are bulbs, corms or tubers in flower at any time of the year, and forms suitable for almost any garden situation.

Such diversity provides plenty of scope for associations of bulbs on their own or partnered with trees, shrubs and other plants.

Spring is the time for crocuses, anemones, narcissi, and scillas which are often planted in informal groupings, while tulips and hyacinths can be bedded out in more formal displays, or grown in containers and window-boxes.

In summer use bulbous plants in mixed borders. The tall summer hyacinth (Galtonia candicans) with dangling bell-like flowers on 1.2m (4ft) stems in mid and late summer would look pretty against a background of the pink and grey-green leaves of Fuchsia magellanica ‘Versicolor’. Complete the grouping with the silver-grey foliage and magenta blooms of rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) set in front.

In autumn the elegant pink blooms of Nerine bowdenii look even more beautiful when fronted by the pale blue of Lobelia erinus ‘Cambridge Blue’. This partnership can be extended with clumps of lily turf (Liriope muscari) which has grassy leaves and spikes of violet blooms reminiscent of grape hyacinths. At the same time of year, the white goblets of Colchi-cum autumnale ‘Album’ make a fine contrast for the autumn-tinted leaves of deciduous shrubs.

In semi-woodland, enliven the dull days of mid and late winter with snowdrops, Cyclamen coum and winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis). Their white, pink and yellow flowers bring a foretaste of spring beneath the bare branches and yellow flowers of the winter-sweet (Chimonanthus praecox); add Iris histrioides ‘Major’ for a touch of blue. The green flowers and evergreen, fingered foliage of Helleborus foetidus would add height and leafy interest. .

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Seasonal Bulbs for the Garden

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