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Bright bulbs; Light up your garden this summer.

Byline: Adrienne Wild

FOXTAIL LILIES

THE stately spikes of these lilies make a fantastic focal point in May and June. The tall blooms of the variety Cleopatra, which are a magnet to butterflies, look stunning partnered with euphorbia fireglow. They make an outstanding cut flower with a long vase life.

EXPERT TIP: These easy-going plants thrive in a sunny position in fertile, well-drained soil, but need protecting from slugs, strong winds and frost.

HOW MUCH? Around pounds 1 at garden centres.

TIGRIDIA

PEACOCK tiger flowers, or tigridia, last just one day - but produce a succession of gloriously-coloured blooms from June to October. The bulbs are edible and said to be an aphrodisiac!

EXPERT TIP: Well-drained soil and a sunny position is essential - they cannot perform in shade. On heavy soils, line the planting hole with grit to prevent the corms rotting.

HOW MUCH? Pack of 25, pounds 3.95 (www.jparkers.co.uk, 0161 848 1100).

AGAPANTHUS

AFRICA lilies, or agapanthus, add an exotic touch to any planting scheme or container. They are resilient to neglect, heat and drought, but hate frost - so in cold regions the evergreen varieties should be brought indoors for winter. Deciduous types can survive outdoors if covered by mulch.

EXPERT TIP: Too much shade can lead to lush foliage at the expense of flowers. Feed potted plants every fortnight from early spring. Divide plants when they become overcrowded.

HOW MUCH? From pounds 5 from Broadleigh Bulbs (www.broadleighbulbs.co.uk, 01823 286231).

DAHLIAS

THE "cactus" variety have pretty petals and are great for cutting. Compact varieties can be grown in pots in late summer.

EXPERT TIP:Dahlias will grow almost anywhere, but they like well-nourished soil, good drainage and sunshine. Tubers can be planted out in late spring or started off in pots on the windowsill.

HOW MUCH? Fifteen mixed dahlias, pounds 11.50 (www.vanmeuwen.com, 0844 557 1850).

GLADIOLI

THESE look best planted in bold groups among other flowers, especially peonies and day lilies.

The short varieties such as Butterfly are particularly good for growing in containers.

EXPERT TIP: Give gladioli sun and they will produce brighter flowers and sturdier stalks. Give them lots of water and they will reach their maximum height and bloom from late July until the frosts - after which the bulbs need to be dug up and stored for the winter.

HOW MUCH? Ten mixed Butterfly gladioli, pounds 2.99 (gardens4you.co.uk, 0808 234 7223).

EUCOMIS

THE "pineapple" shape and lush leaves of Eucomis bicolor make it one of the most soughtafter summer-flowering bulbs for exotic-style schemes. It's best grown in a pot with grit or sharp sand added to the compost.

EXPERT TIPPot up the bulbs in spring and water freely during the growing season, then in autumn bring them indoors and water sparingly during the winter. Grow plants in the same pot for two to three years and top dress each spring.

HOW MUCH? Five bulbs, pounds 4.95 (www.crocus.co.uk, 0870 787 1413).

CANNAS

THE dwarf canna Picasso is a real eye-catcher, producing yellow blooms with red leopard-like spots. It is a good choice for a pot on a sunny patio.

EXPERT TIP: Plant your canna rhizomes out at the end of May and lifted and store them in autumn.

HOW MUCH? Three bulbs, pounds 9.95 (www.gardeningexpress.co.uk, 08000 336161).

ASIAN LILY

THESE are among the easiest lilies to grow.

They're very hardy, need no staking and are not fussy about soil. They are great for pots and borders and come in plenty of shades. Some like the variety Lily Brush Strokes produce less pollen, making them suitable for allergy sufferers.

EXPERT TIP: When planting, line the hole with grit to improve drainage and cover the bulbs with three to four inches of fluffy soil. The bulbs will multiply fast - in three years or so you may need to dig them up and divide them.

HOW MUCH? Five bulbs, around pounds 6 (www.thompson-morgan.com, 0844 573 2020).

CAPTION(S):

TIGRIDIA; AGAPANTHUS; DAHLIAS; FOXTAIL LILIES These beautiful flowers make a spectacular show and, like most lilies, are easy to grow Pictures: GAP PHOTOS/ MARIANNE MAJERUS; GLADIOLI; EUCOMIS; CANNAS; ASIAN LILY
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 27, 2008
Words:700
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