You might look at that title and think we’re nuts. Who wants to be out in the garden at this time of year, digging through the rock-solid wintery soil to plant things?
Well, we do. But that’s not the point.
The point is that if you want a beautiful garden that’s blooming with flowers come spring, then that’s exactly what you need to be doing. Because spring gardens don’t just happen by themselves. They take a little bit of planning, work and dedication. So today, we’re going to share some tips with you that will have your garden blooming in springtime and beyond.
Before you start planting anything, take a little time to prepare your soil. If it’s hard and compacted by first, grab a garden fork and soften it up. Remove any weeds you come across and make sure you mix in lots of compost or other organic matter to give the bulbs the nutrients they need. If you’ve got very heavy soil, it’s worth digging in some horticultural grit as well, and if you’re planting in pots make sure they have plenty of crocks in the bottom for drainage.
Choose Your Bulbs Carefully
When you’re buying bulbs, make sure they are happy and healthy. Most bulbs are sold in a leafless, dormant state so they will just look brown and round. What you need to look for is that they are big, fat and firm. Too small and they probably won’t flower. Too soft and they are probably rotting from the inside. Make sure you check them over for signs of mould as well, as this will stop them from flowering properly.
Dig Deep, Plant Right
When you’re planting bulbs in the garden it can be tempting to just scrape some dirt up and drop them in. But don’t do it! A bulb needs to be planted in a hole around 3-4 times as deep as the bulb itself is. So if you’re plating a 1-inch crocus bulb, for example, you would need a hole that’s around 3-4 inches deep. This is for 2 reasons. 1 – it gives the bulb the space it needs to grow underground before it blooms, giving it the best chance of surviving and producing beautiful flowers. 2 – to protect the bulbs against their number 1 enemy. The squirrel. Squirrels just love digging up bulbs as a tasty treat during the colder months. And when you’ve just dug up the earth to plant them, it’s easier for them to nip in and make off with your beautiful bulbs. If you’re concerned that the depth won’t be enough to protect them, you can put chicken wire over the soil or pot to deter them. You also need to make sure you plant them the right way up, so that they can flower properly. If you’re not sure ‘which way is up’, you can always plant them sideways, and the stem will find it’s way up on its own.
Bulbs For Sun, Bulbs For Shade
A lot of people like bulbs because they can go in the full sun areas of your garden that some other plants would find too hot. But not all bulbs need full sun. There are some bulbs that grow well in the shadier areas of your garden too, and can create a beautiful border without needing the extra light. Bulbs like dog’s tooth violet, imperials and amaryllis all flower well in the shade of trees or other, taller plants.
Mark It Up
It can sometimes be difficult to remember where you’ve planted something that’s so far underground, especially if you’ve got a bare bed that you’re filling with all sorts of things. Plant labels are perfect for marking the position of bulbs when the foliage has died, or before they flower. If your bulbs don’t come with a plastic label, all you need is a discreet wooden stick, like a lollipop stick, to pop in the border. This will stop the frustration of plunging your fork into a patch of border and coming up with bulbs speared on the ends!
Financially speaking, bulbs are the best investment for your garden. They are the cheapest plants available and tend to come in bigger quantities. So don’t skimp on the number you buy. Even in a small garden, massed planting of a few different varieties is always the most effective way to plant for flowers. For example, if you’re going for tulips, allow 12 bulbs per 12-inch container. The more you plant, the more lively and colourful your borders/containers will look.
Of course, you probably don’t want to be doing all of this in the cold of winter, and we don’t blame you. But that’s no reason your garden shouldn’t look beautiful when spring comes around. That’s why at JB Landscaping we’re offering a full garden planting service, to give you the garden you want without all the back-breaking labour. Our team can help you design a beautiful spring garden (with full 3D renderings), source everything you need and plant it all in for you, ready for spring. If you’d like to find out more, just get in touch with the team today.