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. …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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. …
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.
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
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.
Look out in other gardens for great bulbs to grow for next spring. This Grape Hyacinth called Muscari Azureum is a clear soft blue that is recommended for naturalising.
Muscari Valerie Finnis is also blue whilst most of the other species and varieties flower in shades of purple.
Muscari grow well in pots where the foliage can look interesting.
I have not tried Album or Botryoides Album both white Grape or Feather Hyacinths, nor the new scented yellow Golden Fragrance.
Get your bulb catalogues out and select your planting scheme for a glorious display next spring. Plant some bulbs just to cut for indoor flowers – the bunches will be superior to those you will pay na fortune for in the shops next year and you have the fun of growing your own.
I have planted some smaller bulbs around my rockery for spring flowers.
Selection by Height ‘Crocus Whitewell Purple’ are early flowering with 6 purple petals that open almost flat to display their attractive yellow stamen. They grow 3″ tall. Narcissus Canaliculatus are multiheaded 4″ high flowers with white petals and yellow trumpets. They do not like dry soil.
For a dry spot I have planted a bulb new to me Ipheion Uniflorum. This has fragrant lilac-blue star shaped flowers 6″ tall. …