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Garden Beds and gate
  Page 8
 
Planting and tending your garden bulbs.
 

 Lifting and storing bulbs.

 
             Working their magic on your garden from May through to October, summer flowering bulbs provide a splash of colour even when perennials have begun to fade. Plant them in spring or Autumn, to display in beds or garden planters or to complement other flowers, shrubs and trees.

Planting and tending tips
Healthy purchases:   Buy your bulbs as soon as they appear on garden-centre  shelves  or market  stalls.  This  ensures that they will have less chance of being  damaged  by poor storage.
  • Although the largest bulbs are not guaranteed  to produce the best flowers,  don't buy bulbs that look unusually  small or poorly developed  in comparison  with the normal-sized  bulbs of the species.  They may not have grown properly or they may have some type of disease.  Choose  bulbs that are plump, firm and uniform  in appearance.  They should not be marked  and their skin should not come  away easily.
  • If gladioli corms are pink because  they have lost their papery brown tunic, don't buy them. They have been  handled roughly and may be damaged.
The  best soil: Most  bulbs like light, well-drained  soil. If your soil is heavy  and has a tendency  to become waterlogged  in winter, improve  it by digging in sand or gravel, then plant the bulbs on a layer of gravel to provide  further drainage. You can also plant them in a rock garden  covered  with gravel.
  • Soil that is too light and porous for other  plants is ideal for growing bulbs. Plant them on top of a layer of garden compost or well-decomposed organic matter.
 
Keeping disease at bay:
               A light sprinkling of flowers of sulphur before the summer rest period will protect your bulbs from disease and mould. You can also use it before planting - put the bulbs in a paper bag with the powder and shake vigorously.  You should be able to buy flowers of sulphur from garden centres and chemists.
keeping-disease-away-from-garden-bulbs
 
Summer hibernation:  If you prefer to remove bulbs once their flowers have faded to avoid the sight of yellowing foliage, lift them carefully with a fork, keeping the soil around the bulb.
  • Dig a trench in a semi shaded little-used corner of your garden and put a plastic net or wire mesh at the bottom, letting it overlap the ends of the trench.
  • Set the bulbs in the trench and cover with soil, leaving the foliage exposed.
  • Water thoroughly during dry spells.  Once the foliage has shrivelled and faded, the bulbs can be lifted for storing.  Simply pull out the net, shake off the soil and remove the dead leaves.
  • Dry the cleaned bulbs in a well-ventilated place for a few days, then place them, uncovered, on a bed of sand in shallow boxes.
  • Store them in a dry, dark and cool room or garage until replanting in autumn.  Never store bulbs that are damp or have dead or damaged skins.
 
Plant lilies in threes:  For a beautiful show from the first year  on, plant large lilies in soil enriched with plenty  of organic  matter  such as leaf-mould. Plant them in groups in flat-bottomed holes measuring 50-60cm in diameter.  In each hole, first add a handful of coarse sand for drainage then
place  three bulbs in a triangle  and firm them in. This formation guarantees  an attractive  arrangement.
Lillies in garden beds

Gardening Under Glass.

To get ahead of the season, start under glass.

 
       Plant summer bulbs early  in planters and keep  them  under  glass. They will be ready to transfer  to the garden  as soon  as your spring flowering  bulbs have  finished.
Gladioli :  In April,  plant gladioli individually  in 10cm  planters. Place in a cool,  frost-free greenhouse  or porch and water well. With in a couple of weeks  a green shoot will appear. Make  sure they receive plenty  of light, and during  May you will be able  to plant them out in their final position.
Gladioli-in-a-garden-bed
Tuberous  begonias::  Commonly used  in hanging  baskets,  planters or troughs, begonias con also be started off in April  under glass. Put them  in their final positions  once the spring  nights are frost-free.
Freesias: At the end of April, lender bulbs such as freesia or ornithogallum  can be planted in planters and given a start  in the greenhouse.  Move  them out into the garden  or outdoor planters  when all risk of frost has  passed.
 

 

 

Dahlias.
 
Dahlia flower
 
                    Dahlias flower all summer. They look lovely in flower beds but also last well as flowers in arrangements.
 

 
 
Mini Index
 Skips pages. Gets you to a general area.
Garden Bulbs.
Lillies& Alliums.
Flowers until Frost.
Annuals For Summer.
Borders Full of Colour.
 Collecting Seeds.
Perennials.
Foliage Plants.
Pests.
 
Garden Gate and flower borders
 
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