As fragrance wafts from their frilly flowers, spring bulbs are just what you need to turn the winter chills into the thrill of spring. And now – in autumn – is the time to plant your bulbs, while the earth is still warm and soft. Then, when the late winter sun starts to arch higher in the sky, they’ll jump up from their slumber, bringing your garden back to life with vibrant colour, vigour and passion. All it takes is a gentle nudge from that still wimpy sun!
MAKE YOUR GARDEN BED
WHEN TO PLANT
April in cool and cold regions and May in warmer areas when the weather and soil have cooled down.
Well drained, because bulbs will rot if they are sitting in constantly moist soil. It should be slightly acidic, so dig in organic fertiliser before planting.
Most bulbs prefer lots of gentle sun, so avoid planting in areas exposed to hot afternoon sun. If you have a shady spot that needs brightening up, plant snowdrops (Galanthus sp) or snowflakes (Leucojum sp).
Check the packet instructions for how deep to plant your bulbs as the depth will depend on the variety. Generally, however, plant at a depth twice the size of the bulb. For a mass effect, plant about 10cm apart. Plant bulbs pointy end up, except ranunculi and anemone poppies. They are corms and tubers, so plant pointy end down.
Water immediately after planting. Apply slowrelease fertiliser just before spring as the bulbs – which are stores of energy – use much of this energy to produce the flowers. After the flowers fade, allow the leaves to return their energy to the bulb and only cut them back when they go limp.
1 Passion for purples
Can you take six weeks of this every time you step out your front door? That’s how long tulip flowers can last in your garden, especially if you live in a cool climate. These will certainly take the edge off the lingering chill.
2 CASTING SHADE
There’s always a place in your garden where the sun doesn’t shine, but a drift of bluebells will bring light and laughter to that spot. Bluebells also come with pink or white flowers, but how about these striped jingling bells!
3 GO UP A WALL
Hang pots up a wall and fill with daisy-like anemones (A. blanda), crocuses, dwarf irises (Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’) and squills (Scilla siberica), then throw in pots of English ivy, primulas and violas, just for the heck of it!
4 SUCH A ROYAL BLUE
Elegance, grace and regal beauty are the hallmarks of the Dutch iris ‘Blue Magic’. Grow lots in your garden, then cut them for a dramatic indoor display.
5 & 6 SWEET SUCCESS!
If spring has a scent, it’s the one that comes from hyacinths. Make the most of this perfect blend of sweet and spicy by planting along a path, or in a pot close to an open window.
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COOKING WITH KAREN
Add these fresh and fruity beauties to your summer menus
THE PAST can be PERFECT
LET HISTORY OFFER INSPIRATION FOR WHEN YOU WANT TO ADD TO YOUR GARDEN
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The Great Australian OUT-BAKE
Make a gingerbread homestead and bush critters for an Aussie twist on the traditional
SPARKLE & SHINE
Set the scene through touches of snowy white, gold and silver, with flourishes from nature for a look designed to captivate!
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GET THE DRIFT WITH BABY BROMS
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SNIP IN STYLE IT'S A SNAP
Embrace simple pruning with a twist to create a topiary or two that will work wonders in your garden!
CONNECTING THE DOTS OF FAMILY
When you gather together to celebrate and share cheer, the simplest conversation can become so much more
FRENCH - DOOR FRIDGES
HARVEY NORMAN PRESENTS
This Is Your Mind on Plants – A Gardener's Awakening
Michael Pollan is the much-celebrated, much-discussed author of many books that explore the relationship between humans and what we consume, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma. His latest book is This Is Your Mind on Plants. It explores the relationship between humans and three plant products that have shaped human culture and history: caffeine, mescaline, and opium.
Jen Urquhart depicts scientifically accurate florals and botanicals in colored pencil
Tips and tricks for modern container gardening
Best of Both Gardens
Greg Loades’ book outlines how to fuse the elements of a traditional and new-age landscape for the perfect modern cottage garden.
Bonding Through Birds
Kindness spreads through this Kentucky nursing facility, but it starts with feathered friends at a window.
Junco family tree
Meet the many variations of this beloved snowbird and popular wintertime visitor.
What is your favorite owl and why?
Readers share special memories and the species they think is most interesting.
At the Edge of Lake Erie
Try these three activities at Point Pelee National Park.
How Birds Get Named
Meet the committee in charge of naming and organizing birds.
Prime Time For Planting
Find Out Why Fall Is Perfect For Late-Season Gardening.