Adventures in Boots – November 2015

I have fallen out of love with tulips. Quite simply tulips are too high maintenance in this area what with the difficult heavy soil conditions, tulip fire blight and squirrels. As beautiful as they are I don’t have the patience or the energy to put the work in for a display to be partly destroyed by wildlife. And as tulips these days are mostly treated as annuals (as they’re unreliable flowerers the year after) it all seems a bit pointless. I envy the gardener who has pots and pots of gorgeous colourful blooms in containers where the tops have been secured with rabbit wire and grouped together, it looks stunning but I’d rather my investment gave me more than one year’s display. november This year my bulb shopping basket has included a few newcomers. Where I can get a fork in without too much trouble I’ll be planting fritillaria imperialis in orange and yellow. These exotic flowers are tall at one metre plus and will look good in the back part of my client’s herbaceous border where it is undisturbed at the time of year it’s due to flower next spring. Very different from fritillaria is camassia which I haven’t used before but have always admired. Its pretty blue star shaped flowers only last about 3 weeks but it naturalises well in moist grassy areas. The leaves take a while to die off so it’s best to plant this bulb where mowing is not essential. One to naturalise for the sorry corner of the garden, sun or shade is chionodoxa forbesii. Its little cheerful blue and white flowers lift the spirits on a cold March day. Naturalising gives a garden an easy mature look. I use narcissi, crocus, snowdrop and anemone in all the grass borders where spring mowing can wait until a bit later. I plant bulbs deeply lifting a large sod and placing bulbs casually in the pit before replacing the lump very firmly and watering. The squirrels seem uninterested in what can’t be easily retrieved from the ground but the badgers will have a go. I’d better crack on, there’s about two thousand bulbs in at least 15 varieties in the garden waiting to be shared and planted…I could be a while.   TTFN Helen 07708 643313   Save Save Save

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