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gardening with Anne McKeon

I find that many people only think of planting bulbs when they see the bright yellow rows of daffodils in flower by our dual carriageways in spring, or when blown away by the magic of bluebells in flower in our local woodlands and so on, again in spring. Now is the time for planting such bulbs, not when they are actually flowering during the spring months of the year. Tiptoeing through the tulips is all well and good provided that they are planted in time during the autumn for February to April effect.

If you are enticed into buying some bulbs, buy early in the season before the bulbs have been mishandled and are still in good condition. A damaged or bruised bulb will generally give a poorer flower.

Plant your bulbs as soon as possible after purchasing them, except in the case of tulips. Ideally tulips grow better if planted in November, during the dormant season. Bulbs should be planted their own depth and a half into the soil. Many people plant them much too deeply and wonder why they have no flowers. At a guess, I would suggest that if planted too deeply, bulbs will flower all right but probably in Melbourne. On the other hand, bulbs that are barely covered will be stolen by waiting crows once you have turned your back. Care when planting will lead to a good return of flowers.

Most bulbs require free draining soil. They will not feel happy if they have to live up to their necks in water. Add coarse sand to heavy soils to improve drainage. If you are planting bulbs into containers rather than into the open ground, make sure that drainage holes are plentiful and that they are not blocked.

With poor soils it is beneficial to dig in some fertiliser before planting, but avoid fresh manure. Mind you, with the change in farming practices these days and the fact that many areas of land are now sites for houses rather than fields for cows, fresh manure is becoming almost as scarce as hens’ teeth.

I read somewhere that it is possible to create 100 days of continuous colour by combining different types of bulbs together. These bulbs can be planted in the ground or into pots, or maybe both.

Bulbs are an ideal choice for the avid gardener and the beginner alike. Take a stroll through your garden over the coming days and pinpoint corners where a few bulbs would add a touch of colour. All that will then remain is for you to do a little shopping.

By the way many thanks for the interest shown in my hobby gardening classes. There are still are few places available for some of the classes. For details contact me on (091 ) 521186.

Happy gardening!




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