Monday, February 13, 2012

Spring bulb planting time

My order of winter and spring flowering bulbs arrived today so over the next couple of weeks I will be preparing the garden for planting. I usually avoid adding any cow manure to the soil but prefer to dig in a potash rich complete fertilizer and some compost. Here on the warm coast I give bulbs such as daffodils and jonquils a bit of pre-planting "fake" winter by placing them in the refrigerator crisper for a couple of weeks. Others such as Anemones and Ranunculi I start off in seedling trays containing a fairly sandy potting mix before planting out. That way they are safe from any sudden deluge of rain or marauding snails which may nip off the emerging shoots. Once the new plants emerge they are easy to handle and better able to cope with a new home and can be spaced accordingly. The hardiest bulbs which need no special attention are the Freesias. Last year I discovered some that I had lifted and left to dry off in the shed and despite being planted late, I think it was mid-winter, they still flowered well. Freesias seem to do better when a bit crowded together as the flower stems can be quite lax so they need close mates to help them stand upright. The other very hardy bulb which is good over a range of climates is Ipheion uniflorum or spring star flower. I have ordered the white, pale blue and marine blue to mix together in pots as an edging flower in a large container. I will take some more photos as I plant out the individual bulbs over the coming weeks.

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