Spring Bulb Planting - Now is the time!

September 30, 2015

{I first wrote this for Rock my Style a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to leave my bulb planting until the end of October as so many of my flowers are still blooming in the tubs at the moment, but you can plant bulbs anytime from now up until mid November so whenever you have a spare weekend.}

Spring planting is my favourite kind of gardening, mainly because it’s so easy. In essence you just put some bulbs into compost, cover them up, leave them all winter and by spring miraculously you’ll have beautiful blooms to spread some cheer without really doing anything. So even if you haven’t gardened before, it’s foolproof if you follow a few basic tips.
I normally plant all my tubs up in the autumn, you can plant bulbs any time between September and November but I tend to do mine at the start of October once most of my summer flowering plants have finished. I’ve been collecting galvanised tubs over the years from vintage markets and car boot sales so have quite a big collection now but you can plant bulbs into the ground or any containers of your choosing, terracotta pots, even old flour tins look good!
I buy bulbs from a number of places, last year most of mine were from Costco which have big packs of daffodils and tulips from America but I’ve also purchased from local garden centres before, Homebase and Wilkinson’s. Sarah Raven has some beautiful specialist bulbs too if you want to splurge. I mainly just go for tulips and daffodils in containers but there’s also hyacinths, ranunculus, anemones, alliums, crocuses and snowdrops that you can also plant now {although most of these would be better in the ground}. I want to plant extra bulbs this year in spare pots to then dig them up when they’re flowering and bring them indoors for displays next spring so consider this if you’re planting them and maybe buy extra.
Last year I just bought mixed bags of daffodils which did look pretty having different sizes and types but I’m a bit ocd and some flowered before the others so this year I think I’ll plant the tubs with only one variety in each. Daffodils tend to flower before tulips so if you plant a mixture you’ll have a succession of flowers. There are so many pretty varieties to choose from, some frilly, some double headed and so many different colours of both daffodils and tulips. The little narcissi daffodils and paperwhites tend to be highly scented which I love. And if you’re short on pots or space, take a look at Monty Don’s bulb lasagne!
In terms of planting, get a tub {which has drainage holes at the bottom and a couple of crocks/stones so it doesn’t fill with water} and fill about 1/3 full with a layer of compost. Standard garden compost or soil will do, the bulbs already have their nutrients and energy stored within them. You can read the instructions on the back of the pack but I just space them out in the tub fitting as many as I can in without overcrowding. Then cover your bulbs up with soil making sure they’re deep enough. I then always cover each tub with chicken wire as squirrels have a tendency to dig them up or eat the young shoots so try and protect them if you can. You can then just forget about everything until the spring when they start shooting up. You won’t need to water them, it usually rains a lot through the winter. And don’t worry about the cold, it helps them wake up.
Once they start growing through the chicken wire you can remove it and wait for the buds to open. Crucially once they’ve finished flowering, make sure you deadhead the flowers and leave the greenery until it dies back naturally or they won’t flower again next year. You can either leave the bulbs in the tubs and plant on top of them or plant them in the ground somewhere and then dig them up again next Autumn and start the cycle all over again!

You can see my post about Autumn gardening that I wrote last year if you scroll to the end of this post.

Will you be planting bulbs?

R <3 xx

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  1. Hi, I absolutely love your garden. This is probably a really daft question (apologies but I am a complete novice at gardening!) but can you advise me what to do with my window boxes.....I bought beautiful window box but am just wondering if I need to replace these flowers and plant bulbs now in order to have a nice window display in spring/summer? Thanks so much

    1. Thank you! No worries, yes I would plant bulbs in the bottom of the window boxes now and put some autumn flowers in if you want - heathers or chrysantheums look nice xx


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