Archive | Bulbs Tubers and Corms

Plants that grow from underground storage devises

Scilla or Squill Should Look Like This?

After the ‘Lord Mayors Parade’ gardeners get the manure. After the snow and sometimes during the snow gardeners get the Glory of the Snow or at least the glory of Scilla.
To have a display that looks like a professional start 3 years ago.

To have a garden that looks like Kew start 30+ years ago.

Glory of the snow

I like to grow bulbs in the garden but am often put to shame by other displays. I sometimes wonder ‘Why Don’t My Scilla Look Like This?’ but then realise that comparing your garden to Kew garden or international locations means you are on a hiding to nothing.

Scilla auf dem Friedhof

Tips to Look Like This Continue Reading →


Growing Bulbs in Grass

Naturalising means bulbs growing and seeding as they would in the wild; i.e. “in nature”. In some gardens this means growing bulbs in grass instead of borders.
To naturalize bulbs they need to be planted where they can remain undisturbed without the need for the foliage to be prematurely removed. Leaves need to die back for about six weeks after the flowers have faded.

Growing  Bulbs in Grass

  • Crocus will thrive for years if planted in grass with a dry or fast draining soil. If the lawn is lush and gets lots of high nitrogen fertilizer it will stunt the flowering process of the bulbs. You’ll get lots of foliage but no flowers.
  • Plant in groups or clusters so you can mow the other area.
  • You need to be patient as a bulb seedling will take 5-7 years before it has built up reserves to flower. Above all do not deadhead the flowers so they can seed a couple of months after flowering.
  • Plant species bulbs rather than showy doubles.

Continue Reading →


Sparkling Summer Bulbs

Reliable flowering can be expected from summer bulbs and tubers.
Early Summer Flowering
Alliums flower May-July, I like those that look like a burst of stars
Anemone start in April with the woodland varieties then come the blousy De Caen and larger corm types through summer

Dutch Iris look good for a short while in midsummer but I find I get poor results in containers.

Continue Reading →


Double Flowered – Tulips

Tulips blowing gently in the breeze are a sign that summer is around the corner. If you only grow a few tulips then why not splash out on bulbs that will produce double flowers. Tulips can be planted until the end of November.


What are Double Flowers

Double flowers have more than one array of petals so the flower is fuller of petal and colour. That is not just twice the number of petals but more than one array or ring.
Usually the structure of regular flower would be compose of 4 rings; Sepals, Petals, Stamens and Pistils. Sepals are the outermost, green leaf-like organs to support flower when were young. Petals are the main organ to show a flowers appearance. Stamens and Pistils are male and female pollen. Truly Double Flowers must have all 4 rings in each flower but common parlance has more than one ring of petals as a double. Roses, Carnations, Camellia and Peonies often seen in double flowered mode. Continue Reading →


Tips for Growing Tazetta Miniature Daffodils

Daffodils are classified into 13 divisions and currently one of the most popular is Division 8 Tazetta Narcissi. These are a group of low growing daffodils that are at home in rockeries or containers.

AMARYLLIDACEAE 石蒜科 - Narcissus (Narcissus tazetta var. chinensis) 中國水仙

Features of Tazetta Daffodils

Tazettas have several flower heads per stem and look very showy as a result.
All the varieties flower at about 12 inches high.
Tazettas are popular for pot growing and forcing as they do not need a long period of cold before rooting and growing.
Most Tazettas are well scented.

#2729 daffodils (水仙)

Key Varieties of Tazetta Daffodils

Paperwhites are one of the best known Tazetta varieties. They have a good scent and are easy to grow for Christmas flowering or in pot culture.
Cheerfulness has a double perianth (outer petals) and flowers in pure white or as a pure yellow sport often sold as Primrose Beauty.
Cragford is a variety I am growing this year with a plan to cut flowers for indoors. It is scented with white petals and a deep orange / scarlet cup.
Avalanche flowers a bit later in April. It has white petals and lemon coloured central cups.
Geranium is another old favourite with white petals and orange cup.
Scarlet Gem has 4-6 flowers per stem with the best red ey and deep yellow perianth.
Hoopoe has petite yellow scented flowers.
Chinese Sacred Lily Tazettas have creamy white petals with a small, scented and flattened yellow cup.

Narcissus tazetta

Tips for Forcing Tazetta Daffodils

Plant in well drained compost in crocked pots.
Plant so the nose of the bulb is just level with the top of the compost. You can plant the bulbs close together.
Keep the planted-up pot in the cool dark for four to six weeks.
Bring out into brighter light and more warmth until they flower in 6-9 weeks.

Daffodil selection

Other Resources

Daffodils can be ordered now for Autumn delivery from Thompson & Morgan

Other types of Miniature Daffodils and Narcissi Tips
Gardeners tips for Growing Daffodils
Daffodil divisions

Photo Credits
“AMARYLLIDACEAE 石蒜科 – Narcissus (Narcissus tazetta var. chinensis) 中國水仙 by kaiyanwong223 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
#2729 daffodils (水仙) by Nemo’s great uncle CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Extending the Bulb Flowering Season



Spring flowers are always well received as a way to herald the coming summer. Because spring bulb flowers are highly valued take the opportunity to extend the flowering season, especially in key pot locations.

Start with a careful selection of varieties. Early season, mid season and late varieties exist for Tulips and Daffodils. Crocus are a bit harder but there are autumn varieties for flowering of late bulbs.

How To Have Bulbs flowering for several weeks in Spring

  • Choose sets of bulbs to flower at different times throughout the spring and place into aquatic baskets or transferable containers.
  • For the  early flowering bulbs, plant these in a greenhouse to help their early flowering. Then plant the ‘aquatic baskets’ into the target pot.
  • As a general rule, bulbs need to be planted at a depth of 2-3 times the bulb height.
  • After the first bunch of bulbs have finished flowering, you can remove the aquatic basket and place another set of bulbs into the ornamental pot. In this way you can have  3 -4 sets of flowering bulbs in the same ornamental pot throughout spring. This is an excellent way to give the impression you are an expert gardener.
  • People will be impressed by the long flowering season of your pot, and they may not even realise how you are able to do it.

Plant Autumn Crocus

From obenson flickr

I have just bought and planted some Autumn ‘Crocus Speciosus’ AGM that were part of a birthday present. I could have waited until summer to plant the bulbs. Flowering bright blue are about 4 inches tall. I hope to see the blue veined flowers with  deep yellow stamen  by October  followed by leaves in spring. The thin flowering stems find it difficult to withstand wet and windy weather and are inclined to flop but I have given them some shelter in the rockery.

Autumn crocus are not cheap but they can last for years given favorable conditions. Autumn crocus or meadow saffron is a poisonous member of the lily family.

Autumn Crocus Tips

  • Plant about 4 inches deep and be prepared for them to flower a bit later the first year.
  • Try other varieties of Autumn flowering crocus of which there are many including the saffron Crocus sativus, Crocus goulimyi, Crocus pulchellus, Crocus agrippinum and Crocus nudiflorus, Crocus clusii, Crocus laevigatus Fontenayi, Crocus pulchellus and Crocus Zephyr
  • Excellent for naturalising in wild gardens, rockeries and between shrubs according to my packet instructions (but they are unlikely to say good chance of failure).
  • Many colchiums and autumn crocus they can flower without soil indoors prior to planting out.
  • Increase your stock via freshly ripe seed or dig up the corms when the leaves fade in spring pulling them apart and replant the cormletts.
  • Mice can be troublesome because they eat the Crocus corms so protect them if you are troubled.

Other Resources
National Council for Conservation of Plants and Gardens ‘Conservation through Cultivation.’


Red Hot Dahlias

‘Fiery’ hardly does justice to this cactus Dahlia.

Often seen as the preserve of competition growers Dahlias are hot and sexy again. I have just restarted the tubers I lifted last Autumn. I use large tubs in a frost free area until the danger of frost has passed. I can take cuttings from new growth and will get flowers in summer and new tubers.

Many suppliers and thus varieties are available at stockists.  Sarah Raven the gardening commentator is keen to promote the flowers for their intense, hot colours that they can bring to the garden. She is not far wrong and I increase the number of Dahlias I grow each year.
Continue Reading →


Daffodils from Oxford And Yorkshire


This picture was taken in late March at the University Botanic Gardens Oxford. I’m not sure of the variety, but, they remind me of tete a tete. The White betula (Birch) provides an interesting contrast to the lush green of early spring. In the background is the River Cherwell, flowing under Magdalen Bridge.

Wild Daffodil Facts

  • The wet winter has not damaged the crop of our native wild Daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus.
  • This species has pale yellow flowers, with a darker central trumpet and long, narrow leaves are slightly greyish green in colour. The two-tone look is one way to tell them apart from their garden relatives.
  • Wild Daffodil are found amongst the dappled shade of an ancient woodland or pushing up through the grasses of a damp meadow.
  • ‘Daffodil Dale’ aka Farndale near Helmsley in N Yorkshire has glorious wild daffodils in April.

Plunge Pot Grown Daffodils

This year I didn’t take my own advice and have pots of Daffs that are stunted and unlikely to excel. Take the plunge and bury your bulb pots to encourage strong root growth. Next year is the key- at least gardeners usually get another chance to fail!


If you grow daffodils in pots you will get better results if you ‘Plunge Pots’ in soil or peat after potting.
Daffodil bulbs do not like to be frozen so you need to plunge or bury the pot at least 2 and preferably 4 inches deep.
Leave them covered for 16-18 weeks.
Feed with high potash feed every week during and after flowering to build up the bulbs for next season.
Do not cut the leaves but when they have died back gently pull them from the base.
gravel in the above photo is used to aid watering and the grit on top of the pot improves the appearance, prevents moss and lichen

Daffodil selection

Take the plunge and bury your bulb pots. This evens out the ground/compost temperature for the bulbs to grow good roots and develop in a natural manner.
Miniature daffodil bulbs like this treatment.
If you want to regrow the bulbs next year give them a bit more room and plenty of root depth.


Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes