Now’s not the time to plant spring bulbs, or even buy them, but it’s a great moment to appreciate them and spot ones you might like to grow next year. Here are one or two tips worth bearing in mind.
If you’re planting in containers, you don’t need to worry how the foliage dies, but in beds, it’s quite an important point: spent foliage can look depressing, can kill the next layer of plants, and of course, you can’t just cut it off because it needs to die naturally and feed next year’s bulbs.
Hide the dying foliage under other perennial leaves or grasses as they grow up. Alliums grow well planted in amongst herbs and like the same soil.
If you’re naturalizing bulbs in a meadow or grass, you won’t be able to mow until all the foliage has died down naturally.
I plant bulbs in pots to add to borders where they’re needed, and whisk them away as they pass their best.
I love blue in spring, so plant Scilla siberica in boxes to grow in shady spots; Scilla peruviana in pots for long-lasting colour; and muscari everywhere. My favourite daff is N. Thalia; favourite early bulb is Leucojum vernum, the snowflake; and the meadow bulb I love best is Gladiolus communis, a fuschia pink spire that flowers in May.