Winter planning – Bulbs

For me personally, Winter gives time and opportunity to reflect and review a changing garden throughout the year. The quieter dormant garden is a time to get on with the jobs that escaped you during that year. I find it helps to take photos of the garden (and borders in particular) during the year to see what is missing and what needs changing or updating.

Photos really help, as there is no better reference to the large gaps in a border. Planting of bulbs for that light period of interest or lack of flowers really brightens up the space.

January to April – Galanthus: a lovely delicate early flowerer

Plant Snowdrops at 10cm depth in moist well drained soil from September to November. I particularly love the timeless and original Galanthus nivalis… but why not go for a snowdrop that flowers before Christmas with Galanthus Three ships?

February to May Flowering

Add a dash of colour with Crocus, Daffodils and Tulips. I like to keep it simple with not too many cultivars. It is always better to plant too deep rather than too shallow, a general rule of thumb is two to three times the length of the bulb.

Plant Crocus at 10cm depth in well-drained soil (in full sun) from September to November. For the autumn flowering variety plant July to August. Crocus ‘Whitewell Purple’ has a clean purple colour and a sunshine orange centre.

Plant Daffodils at 15cm depth in moist well drained soil (sun to partial shade) from September to November. Narcissus ‘Border Beauty’ has a cheery yellow flower with orange centre.

Plant Tulips at 20cm depth in well drained/neutral/alkaline soil (full sun but sheltered) November/December. Apply a fertilizer for flowering bulbs to minimise replacing these each year. Add Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’ and Tulipa ‘Maureen’ for dark and light colour contrast

Late Spring to Mid-Summer


Alliums give real drama with a ball of flowers floating above a thin stem, also giving an added bonus of sculpted with wintry balls “frozen in time” once the flowers have passed.

Plant Alliums at 15cm depth (or three times their depth) in fertile well-drained soil from September to October. For me, It just has to be the big and bold Allium giganteum (purple) or Allium ‘White Giant’.

There are many more bulbs available to help fill those spaces so get creating folks!!

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