Flowering Bulb : Bulbs and Corms Planting/Growing Advice
There is a wide range of flowering bulb and corms that may be grown out of doors, some in beds for spring flowering (such as, narcissi and ), some as edging plants (like crocus), and some in groups in mixed or other borders (like ). Of the many types available, the following are amongst the most popular and the most easily grown. Where applicable, some suitable and easily grown varieties are given in each case.
The flowering bulb should be planted in September and can be spaced 6 ins. apart and 4 ins. deep. Well dugis needed, and a 2 in. dressing of should be forked into the top 4 ins. of soil prior to planting. An application of wood ashes at 4 ozs. to the square metre will also be of benefit.
For details of varieties of flowering bulbs, please see the section headed “Flowering Bulb Plants in Pots“
For outdoor planting in beds, the flowering bulb: tulips should be planted 6 ins. apart and 4 ins. deep. The main period of planting is September and October. Tulips do well in most soils, except the very heavy type, and if this is being dealt with, add a handful of coarse sand, to the bottom of the planting hole. Try to avoid planting in the same piece of ground or in the same bed two years running. Tulips do best in soil that has not been occupied by tulips for some time.
When planning to have more than one type of these colourful subjects, remember that the early single tulips are the first to flower, followed by the early double types. Mendel and Triumph tulips flower in April, whilst for May a choice can be made from the Darwin, Cottage or Breeder types, which flower in that order.
Early Double Tulips – These are not perhaps as popular as other types, but nevertheless make a good contrast. Popular varieties are: Dante, blood red; Murillo Max, rose flushed white; Orange Nassau, orange scarlet and Peach Blossom, rosy pink.
Breeder Tulips – These are slightly taller than the Darwins and have large flowers in a wide colour range. A few popular sorts are, Dillenburg, salmon orange; Pontiac, mahogany red and President Hoover, tangerine scarlet.
Cottage Tulips – Some good varieties are: Belle Jame, yellow; Advance, orange scarlet; Carrara, white; Mrs. John T. Scheepers, yellow; Rosy Wings, salmon pink and Renown, carmine red.
Early Single Tulips – These are not so large as the May flowering tulips but are useful if an early batch is required. They are mostly 12 to 15ins. tall. A few good varieties are: Brilliant Star, scarlet; Ibis, rose pink; Mon Tresor, yellow; Prince of Austria, orange scarlet, and Princess Irene, salmon orange.
Mendel Tulips – These flower 10 days earlier than the Darwins, and follow the Early Singles. Krelage Triumph, geranium red, is a popular variety, and Orange Wonder is also good. Emmy Peck, lilac rose, can also be recommended.
Triumph Tulips – These follow on after the Mendel types, and some good varieties are, Elmus, cherry red edged with white; Johanna, salmon pink; Paris, orange red edged yellow and Red Giant.
Darwin Tulips – These, widely used for beds, are available in a very wide colour range. All are about 24 to 30ins. high. A few very popular varieties are: Bartigon, cochineal red; Charles Needham, red; Farncombe Sanders, geranium red; Golden Harvest, yellow; Queen of the Bartigons, salmon pink; Prunus, rose pink; and Hollands Glory, scarlet. It is also possible to buy a mixture of colours, which will ensure a widely contrasting range of shades for bedding purposes. However, it is usually best to plant one variety to one bed if a definite colour scheme is wanted.
Outside planting can be done from September to November. Hyacinths do best in a light new soil, to which ample organic manure has been added. Drainage must be good. Do not plant when the soil is very wet. Set the bulbs in holes made with a trowel, 5ins. deep.
Some protection may be needed from straw or leaf mould, in very hard weather. Some varieties that are suitable for outdoor planting are: King of the Blues, a deep indigo blue; Grand Maitre, lavender blue; Queen of the Pinks, and Jan Bos, red.
Smaller flowering bulbs can be used for outdoor planting than for culture in pots and bowls.
Often called Glory of the Snow, these bulbs give a brilliant display in March and April. Plant in Autumn, setting the garden bulbs 3ins. deep. They are fully hardy and may be used for naturalizing. Several shades of blue are available, and there is also a pink variety. A blue like that of C. Sardensis is usually most popular.
Being one of the first flowers in the spring, crocus are especially valuable and, with the wide range of colour, are particularly pleasing. The bulbs should be planted 2 or 3 ins. apart in bold groups in autumn, in holes 3 ins. deep. They can be left undisturbed for some years. Crocus can be grown in bowls but must be given cool conditions or they may not flower.
The large Dutch varieties are very good for a spring display. A few varieties from the wide choice available are: Excelsior, lilac blue; Queen of the Blues, Remembrance, purple; Snowstorm, white and Mammoth, yellow.
These miniature species are useful plants for a shaded position and will do well beneath trees. They need a well-drained position and some lime rubble should be mixed in with the oil.
They are all of dwarf habit and should be planted as soon as they are received. It is sometimes necessary to order the garden bulbs in advance and this should be done in July. The varieties include C. Neapolitunum, which is autumn flowering and has rose pink flowers; C. Coum Roseum, flowering in February or March, pink in colour, and C. Vernum, which has crimson flowers, borne in April and May.
These are very valuable plants for a separate border or for using in a mixed border. They may also be planted in gaps in a herbaceous border. Corms are set, in April, in holes 3 ins. deep and 6 to 8 ins. apart. At the end of the season, lift the corms, and store them in a dry cool place. Take off the remains of the stem and any loose outer scales, then store the corms in a shallow tray.
The choice of varieties is very wide, but the following are of high quality : Abu Hassan, violet; Hopmans Glory, yellow, andDream, all early. Bit of Heaven, orange; General Eisenflower, salmon pink; Mrs. Marks Memory, carmine, and Picardy, pink, for mid season flowering. New Europe, salmon orange, and Spotlight, yellow and scarlet, for later flowering.
These “bluebells” are useful for shaded positions where many other plants will not succeed. Plant 4ins. deep in September. They flower in May and June and are very colourful. The variety Blue Queen is very striking; Blue Giant is also a good sort, while Myosotis is a lighter blue.
As one of the first flowers in late winter, room should be found for at least a few snowdrops, and these can be naturalized in a partly shaded position. Set the bulbs nearly touching and 2 ins. deep.
The common snowdrop, Galanthus Nivalis, has single flowers and is the well known variety, but the variety Corcyrensis should also be planted. This has a long season of flowering, but garden bulbs should be planted as soon as possible, in September. An order should be placed in July.