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Gardening


Alliums in a border of June flowers


Chionodoxa


named ‘February Gold’, but why go for the obvious? Glory of the Snow, or Chionodoxa, are lovely little star- shaped bulbs that come in blue, pink or white. The blue ones look wonderful clustered around the base of birch trees. However, you can’t be without daffodils in April. Avoid the bags of generic ‘daffodil bulbs’ and chose varieties carefully to get the most impact. There is a dazzling variety of shapes, heights, flowering times and even colours. I sometimes have clients who don’t like yellow in the garden but that doesn’t mean they can’t have daffodils. Narcissus ‘Mount Hood’ has pure white petals with the palest cream trumpet and looks very elegant. Tiny Narcissus ‘Baby Moon’ has two


or three flowers per stem and should be planted where you will get a waft of scent as you pass by – pure spring


Tulip Time Before we move to May tulip time I would like to introduce you to species tulips. These are the plants as they are found in the wild, unsullied by plant breeder machinations. They are shorter than the more popular tulips but flower earlier and come back year after year. My favourite is Tulipa


Turkestanica which can appear as early as March. The more mainstream tulips are


available in a bewildering array of colour and sizes, but the shapely Lily- Flowered tulips will grace any border. Colour is a matter of personal taste but two contrasting ones such as black (try ‘Queen of the Night’) and white, yellow and purple or blue (‘Bleu Amiable’) and orange can work very well. As we move into summer, the bulbs


just keep on going. Dutch Iris come as small bulbs and are very easy-going, unlike their fussier bearded cousins. Just stick them in the ground and next June beautiful irises will decorate your garden at a time when many flowering perennials are still in bud. Alliums are another June flowering


bulb that provide maximum impact for minimum effort. Their dramatic spherical flower heads create a great contrast with other plants. It does go a bit quiet on the bulb


front in summer. You could try the striking fox-tail lily, Eremurus which will tower up through planting in July, but it can be a bit temperamental. The Martagon, or Turks Cap Lily also flowers through July. The next easy hit of bulb action is in September when Colchicum, also


Narcissus Mt Hood


known as Naked Ladies, appear. The flowers look just like crocus, they are sometimes known as Autumn crocus, but they appear from September through to October without their leaves. They do produce glossy, large leaves in the spring which need to bear in mind when you are planting as you don’t want them to hide the dainty spring bulbs. Cyclamen hederifolium will take you through November, with a few brave souls flowering into December. In January the cyclamen coum will take the baton and you are launched into another year! FL


Follow Michelle on Twitter @michgreenwave or visit greenwavedesign.co.uk for garden tips and news. Michelle teaches planting workshops at the Mells Walled Garden.


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