Browsed by
Tag: Bulbs

Ten Summer Bulbs to Try

Ten Summer Bulbs to Try


  1. Eucomis – The pineapple flower last for months and are very decorative.
  2. Dahlia – A perennial favourite that is returning to fashionable gardens in need of late summer colour.
  3. Allium – Globemaster looks like it says in the name.
  4. Arum or Calla Lilies have distinctive spadix spikes of yellow through white petals.
  5. Canna – I like the dark leaved varieties with vibrant red flowers
  6. Stargazer Lilies – are very showy and fragrant.
  7. Galtionia – The summer Hyacinth worked very well in my garden last year and produced plenty of bloom.
  8. Gladioli – Always make a fine show plant, cut flower and vertical statement in your garden
  9. Agapanthus – The bulb of the last decade for my taste but still very popular in clumps or pots.
  10. Regal Lily – saved to the last on this list but one of my first choices. Can be planted through till June for flowering in 3 months.

Let us know in the comments which varieties and colours catch your attention. If you have another summer bulb you prefer let us know that as well and we will publish your views.

Read Growing Habranthus

Growing Rain Lily Bulbs & Zephyranthes

Growing Rain Lily Bulbs & Zephyranthes

Try a new flower to go with  seasonal rain. This 2015 update on my attempts to grow Rain Lilies

I discovered a 6 inch pot in my greenhouse with a label saying Habranthus but I don’t know where I got the contents from. There were a couple of short, green, narrow leaves and little else until this week when flowers erupted from the soil on 4 inch stems with petals nearly as long.

I water my greenhouse with a hosepipe spray except when I am adding fertilizer and recently I have been misting over all the pots and plants. You can see how the spray has stuck to the Habranthus flower.


Habranthus is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family with species from Central and South America extending into southern North America. They have narrow, linear or strap-shaped leaves. Their flowers are very similar to Zephyranthes and both are called rain lilies.

This variety of Habranthus is flowering in late Summer (Sept) and offers a delicate touch to colour with minimum fuss. Habranthus bulbs should be quite hardy in the UK.

Read More Read More

Half Price Bulbs

Half Price Bulbs

Many retailers are selling bulbs at half price to clear their stocks to make space for Christmas goods. I have just bought 80 Dutch Iris of a particular shade for less than £2. Our local Hampsons has remainder stock at £1 a bag but be selective.

harlow 17.4 070

Tips on Cheap Bulbs

      • Tulips, Alliums and Anemones can be planted later than narcissus and I would go for them up till Christmas.
      • If bulbs seem to be stored in a draft they will be drying faster so leave them. I even saw bulbs under a hot air blower that was shriveling the poor hyacinths.
      • Size can be important so if they seem small leave them alone.
      • If bulbs are damaged, moldy or light leave them at the shop.
      • If the bulb is sprouting but not ‘forced’ ie too long thin and pale then I am happy buying them
      • Plant as soon as you can and get them into cool conditions.

Amaryllis Hippeastrum

      • These large bulbs in gift boxes are often sold off after Christmas in the sales.
      • Any you were given or gave at Christmas were not going to be planted until after Santa had visited so buying them in January isn’t a problem
      • If you see them at a discount before Christmas you could buy them, plant them and give them as a growing present rather than in a gift box.


My Double Daffodils

My Double Daffodils

Twice as much pleasure? Well for Mothering Sunday double Daffs will go down a treat.
Double daffodils

Double the pleasure from Daffodils with extra petals or crinkly trumpets.
I am always on the look out for plants I want to grow next year. I am aiming for shock and awe varieties of common plants and specimen plant of an unusual nature. If I don’t make a note of them in my garden note book I will forget.

Rip Van Winkle Daffodil
My choice of Double Daffodils
Delnashaugh or Repleat have an apricot-pink centre and the slightly smaller Mary Copeland is also unusual.
Dick Wilden is a sulphur coloured sport of Carlton and Golden Ducat or Von Sion are other all yellow doubles.
I grew Winston Churchill this year for cutting. A bit later flowering so I am now enjoying the scent.
Obdam is the only pure white I have found but I can tolerate White Marvel, Acropolis and Bridal Crown in my white bed.
After the point above I then discover that Thompson Morgan sell 2 other white doubles, Erlicheer and Daffodil poeticus Plenus.
Rip van Winkle has an unusual petal shape that appears to be a double.

Daffodil selection

Just a final word for Cheerfulness a really go doer from the Tazetta Division 8 not quite a double but with puffy centre petals that look the part.

As with many flowers please have a close look and take your time to appreciate the fantastic choice we gardeners have available.
Daffodil selection

Wordsworths Daffodils

Wordsworths Daffodils


Even William Wordsworth probably saw fewer daffodils at a glance than appear in this shot. Intensive planting in grass land have now naturalised into producing a fine spring display(with some litter).

‘I wondered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills

When all at once I saw a crowd a host of golden daffodils’

Tips for Buying Daffodils

  • Visit a Daffodil Show this Spring – Your local or regional spring daffodil show is a perfect place to view many different types of daffodils. You can easily find out which varieties do well in your part of the world.
  • Order Early – This is not a marketing gimmick. Early orders generally get the pick of the crop. Your chances are better of getting exactly what you order with no surprises. Catalogues are generally sent in spring and early summer.
  • Compare Prices – Prices are not the same. Our opinion is that you do get what you pay for. Cheap bulbs are generally cheap for a reason. Smaller bulbs generally give smaller and fewer flowers. If it seems too good to be true it probably is!
  • Be Aware – Some General Bulb Merchants routinely change bulb names and some may even substitute varieties without your knowledge. Ask other gardeners on Web forums about their experiences with specific suppliers. Try choose a specialist supplier.
  • Read the Fine Print – Check the guarantee. Terms vary widely. Will they replace or refund in case of problems. Are the bulbs guaranteed true to name?
  • Choose a variety – make sure you variety is fit for purpose. If you want cut flowers or varieties for naturalising seek out appropriate types

Read More Read More

Grow Colourful Gloxinia as Houseplants

Grow Colourful Gloxinia as Houseplants

Gloxinia are showy house and greenhouse plants in a range of bright colours. I have just purchased 3 tubers and hope for different colours. They will brighten up my range of houseplants flowering in about 10 weeks. Until they flower I won’t know so I borrowed this photograph from a specialist nursery.

Spotted Gloxinia

Tips on Growing Gloxinia

  • Tubers or corms may be found under the name Sinningia speciosa or Gloxinia and are part of the Gesneriaceae family that includes African Violets.
  • Plant shallowly in good compost with the buds facing upwards, this is usually the concave side like begonias.
  • Water the compost with warm water from the bottom to stop the tuber rotting and keep the atmosphere humid without getting the leaves or flowers wet or they will be stained with brown blotches.
  • Gloxinia like plenty of bright light without direct burning sun. If the furry leaves elongate it is a sign they need more light. Do not expose to direct mid-day sun as the leaves are liable to become scorched.
  • Gloxinia also like a temperature above 60º when in growth but will give flowers for 6-8 weeks in return for your trouble
  • Plastic pots are fine but I add some grit or perlite to help avoid water logging.
  • Feed with half strength liquide fertiliser
  • Use insecticide at the first hint of mealy bugs.
  • Read More Read More

Fritillaria or Fritillary Flowers

Fritillaria or Fritillary Flowers

Good Frits for pot culture

Fritillaria is a genius genus of over 100 species of bulbs from the lily family with an attractive and graceful habit. They generally grow about 4-12 inches in height and have pendulous bell shaped flowers of yellow, orange, purple, green or white in the spring. they often have a chequered green or brown colouring.

In Germany this handsome flower is also called Lapwing-egg, Chess Flower and Boardgame Flower (in German I suppose) Some common English names include Fritillary, Toad lily, Snake’s Head Fritillary, Guinea hen flower and Crown Imperial.

  • If these Fritillaria are grown from seeds sown fresh they will yield more bulbs than one would have obtained from offsets of the old bulbs but they can be slow to produce plants of flowering size.
  • Many of the species are suitable for the frame or Alpine house but are also grown in borders and grass (Fritillaria meleagris the Snake’s Head is seen like this in Magdalen College Oxford).
  • Other species to look out for include the small Fritillaria tubiformis and its hybrids, Fritillaria verticillata with white bells on a taller plant and Fritillaria camschatcensis (the Black Sarana) with a very dark maroon almost black flower.
  • The Crown imperial or Kaiser’s Crown Fritillaria imperialis can grow to an imposing 3 feet and is best planted at least 10″ deep.
  • For information on Fratillaria gentneri see the National collection of imperiled plants

Lady Margaret Hall April 2010


Grow Narcissus romieuxii

Grow Narcissus romieuxii

Hoop petticoat or early flowering daffodils in a profusion of white or yellow flowers.
Narcissus romieuxii

Narcissus romieuxii ‘Julia Jane’ is a small, low-growing daffodil with rough dark green leaves similar to Narcissus bulbocodium but distinguished by short wavy petals and protruding stamens. Flowers are pale yellow blooming well each year between late December and March. This is an early flowering species and is a native of Morocco
White flowering Narcissus romieuxii ssp. Zaianicus flowers in the very depths of winter and is unusually precious.
Protect your plants under glass, in pots in an alpine house, or planted out in a bulb frame. Although they will withstand at least 15 degrees of frost while in full flower without being damaged, if exposed to the wind and rain of a typical English winter, the pristine flowers spoil. Also, the bulbs need complete desiccation in summer, and it is difficult to ensure this in the open garden. If you doubt this advice read this from the Alpine Garden Society.
‘A few years ago I read that a distinguished grower of Mediterranean bulbs never completely dries them off, but leaves the pots in a sand plunge which is kept slightly damp in summer. When I followed this prescription for N. romieuxii, the bulbs were smaller, failed to multiply, and no flowers whatever were produced the following winter. When I reverted to the previous treatment in which the pots were lifted from the plunge in early May as the foliage withers and placed on a hot sunny ledge without any water for three months, it took two years for full vigour to be restored. I repot into fresh gritty sandy John Innes No 3 in the first week of August, water heavily, and keep the compost moist until growth starts. If there is no frost, I water with a dilute feed every two weeks throughout the winter.’

The best supplier I have found so far is Pottertons but let me know if you know of other companies.

Grow Green Tulips

Grow Green Tulips

It is almost too late to plant your tulips for this year but if you have some unplanted bulbs get them into the ground before the worst frosts.

Take a note book when you visit a spring garden and record the plants you want to grow for next year. When the Tulips are in flower look for those with a green band particularly on the outer petals as this adds a new dimension to your traditional tulip.

Types of Green Tulips

  • Viridiflora Tulips can have a lot of green on the outer petals. ‘Florosa’ is a pink and white with a slim and elegant lily shaped flower. ‘Spring  Green’ is cream and ‘Greenland’ is rose but my favourite is the terracotta coloured ‘Artist’
  • Amongst Parrot tulips ‘Super Parrot’ has ivory and green petals that look a bit like a leaf and make a good cut flower.
  • Some of the new multi-flowered tulips have green tinges like ‘Ester Rynveld’ and ‘Greenwave’
  • Traditional cottage tulip ‘Palestrina’ combines Salmon pink with  a green vertical band.
  • Fosteriana are very early flowering and ‘Exotic Emperor’ is one of the best. See pictures on Tulips in the Wood
  • ‘Doll Minuet’ is a deep pink flower with a rich green at the base of each petal.

Tulip viridiflora


More Sources

Cut Flower Tulip varieties

More Scented Tulip varieties

Reasons to Order Tulips

Growing Scilla mischtschenkoana or Squills

Growing Scilla mischtschenkoana or Squills

More spring bulbs to try on for size.

Scilla mischtschenkoana
Scilla commonly know as Squills are a group of bulbs for outdoor and Alpine house growing. The ice-blue flowers of Scilla mischtschenkoana open out almost flat, first appear in February and continue well into March. Sunshine and a well-drained soil will make them at home in a bed or in thin grass.

Other members of the family include

  • Scilla bifolia -one of the earliest bulbs to flower, often with the snowdrops. It has a raceme of small, intense blue starry flowers.
  • Scilla sibirica ‘Spring Beauty’ is taller and has nodding flowers of intense royal blue during March or April.
  • Scilla peruviana has large heads of deep violet-blue flowers with strap like leaves.
  • Scilla lilio-hyacinthus. prefers woodland habitats with broad, fleshy leaves and pyramidal heads of sky-blue excelling in a cool, humus rich soil.
  • Scillia bifolia

    Scilla bifolia above and Scilla mischtschenkoana growing outdoors in a gravel bed below

Scilla mischtschenkoana

See ‘Why don’t my Scilla look like this?’