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May

The dead flower heads from daffodils and hyacinths should be removed when they finish flowering to prevent the formation of seed heads which will unecessarily use energy from the bulb. If you need to free up space for preparation prior to planting of summer bedding plants you will need to lift daffodils and tulips this month. In order to strengthen the bulb for next year though you will need to allow the plants to die back naturally in another part of the garden by 'heeling them in'. To do this dig out a trench about 30cm deep and lay a length of wire netting in the trench with the bulbs on top. Fill the trench with soil covering the bottom half of the stems. By the end of June or early in July the stems and leaves will have died back. At this point you can get hold of both ends of the wire netting (with help if necessary) and a good hard pull should lift all the bulbs at once ready for storage.
Bulbs should be cleaned of any loose soil and stored in a cool (out of full sun) shed in shallow trays where they will live until it is time for replanting in October.

Buy bulbs from Thompson and Morgan and Suttons.

June

Any remaining bulbs, where the leaves have turned yellow, are now ready to be lifted. Tulips benefit from being lifted and dried in a cool shed. Once they are dry, remove any dead leaves and skin and dispose of damaged bulbs. Daffodils with more leaf than flower will benefit from being lifted, divided and re-planted. You can multiply narcissi by removing the offsets and planting in a pot, until they reach flowering size in 2-3 years time. Plant de Caen anemone corms, ready for your autumn show. Move Arum lilies in pots outside or plant them in the ground.

July

You should really be lifting the last of the Spring bulbs now: daffodils, tulips, hyacinths etc – tulips definitely need lifting and cleaning each year – daffodils every two or three years and others less often. Lifting tulips has the advantage of being able to separate the newly generated bulbs from the main bulb and hence generate more plants next year! There are a number of autumn flowering bulbs which can be planted now to provide a display of blooms at an otherwise dull time of year – in particular the autumn crocuses in their many varieties. If you have an area of your garden dedicated to growing spring bulbs for cut flowers then now is the time to prepare the beds for the next planting in the coming autumn – dig deeply or rotavate and remove all weeds before applying a good balanced fertilizer such as growmore.

August

If you haven’t lifted your spring flowering bulbs then do so as soon as possible this month. You can start to plant daffodils this month but this can wait for another month or two if summer bedding plants are in the beds where you want daffodils for next spring. Bulbs should be planted about six inches deep in good soil. Start planning your requirements for next spring be it for the garden or indoor winter and spring bulb displays of hyacinths and dwarf versions of all the popular spring bulbs.

Buy bulbs from Thompson and Morgan or Crocus.

September

Plant bulbs for Spring displays, indoors and out. Bulbs should generally be planted twice as deep as their height. Plant your bulbs in drifts and groups for the most impact, or in pots for your patio. If planting bulbs in lawns, choose early flowering varieties which should have finished flowering before you need to mow the grass. Planting bulbs under perennials will allow you to leave their foliage to die back, as the perennial will hide what can be unsightly foliage. Daffodils, hyacinths, snowdrops and crocus will give you an early display, with tulips following.
For indoor displays for Christmas, plant bulbs in bulb fibre which encourages root growth, preferably in pots with no drainage holes. If the pot has holes, put crocks in the bottom and a layer of coarse peat. To maximise your display, put as many bulbs as possible in the pot. Small bulbs should have their tops 1 inch below the rim of the pot, large bulbs should have the top half out of the container. Fill the pot with compost or bulb fibre, to within half an inch of the rim. Water the bowls, then wrap them in newspaper and put in a cool shed. It will take 2-3 months for the roots to fill the bowl, at which point stems will start to grow.
For a fabulous display, layer tulips or daffodils in pots. Using a large 10 inch pot, put the first layer halfway down the pot. Cover with compost and put another layer of bulbs in the spaces. They will all flower at the same time.

October

The program of spring bulb planting started last month should be completed during October. You may need to control weeds in daffodil beds by hoeing or using a contact herbicide to destroy the weeds as they appear. Half hardy summer flowering bulbs should be lifted this month and dried as quickly as possible to avoid any chance of moisture causing the bulbs to rot. A few days in an airing cupboard will do the trick - after that store them in a cool, dry place free from any possibility of frost.

November

You should complete planting of tulips and hyacinths this month. If any of your pots are showing growth of more than 1 inch, move these inside a greenhouse or coldframe. They can also be taken indoors but must be in a cool room.
You can take the smaller narcissi straight into a warmer room if you want them to flower for Christmas.

Buy bulbs from Thompson and Morgan or Dobies.

December

Lightly hoe beds where tulips and daffodils are planted, to remove seedlings. Keep an eye on bulbs in pots and move into the greenhouse and eventually indoors when they are ready for display. Pots placed in strong light should be turned daily to achieve an even growth. Once again study the catalogues and order your spring bulbs.

January

Bulbs for indoor flowering should be brought inside once growth is well established to gently force them. Once flowered, plant the bulbs in the garden.

February

Flowering bulbs raised in the greenhouse can be brought indoors as they mature for the extra heat to bring them into flower. Bulbs which have finished flowering can be transferred from their containers to the garden or if the weather is still too cold or wet back to the greenhouse or cold frame for a few weeks.

Buy bulbs from Gardening Express or Thompson and Morgan.

March

Order varieties that you want to plant at the end of the summer. Remove flower heads from daffodils and tulips once they have faded. Bulbs that have finished flowering should be planted out. Snowdrops can be lifted, divided and replanted. Anemones de Caen can be planted now.

April

Weed between daffodils and tulips. Remove faded flowers to stop the plants from using energy to make seed unless you want the bulbs of crocuses and snowdrops to increase from their seed. Water bulbs in dry weather to aid swelling of the bulbs before the foliage dies down. Arum lilies can be planted at the side of a pond, or even in a pond 2-3 ft. deep. Water and feed greenhouse bulbs.


Gardening information, hints and tips on how to get the best from bulbs in your garden throughout the gardening year including planting, lifting, propagating and general care advice.