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LIGHT UP WITH BULBS; It doesn't matter how large - or small - your garden is there's always space for a few summer flowering bulbs, even in crowded borders or where space is precious.

ALLIUM (Main picture)

SOME of the most sought-after summer-flowering bulbs belong to the onion or allium family, with architectural qualities to die for. They bloom in early summer, coinciding with the first roses, and have ball-shaped flowers. After they fade, the skeletal remains are ideal for arrangements.

EXPERT TIP: The dry bulbs should be in the ground by Christmas but you can buy plants in spring to create instant displays. Mix with the China blue blooms of Camassia, lavender and silver-leaved artemisia in a mixed Mediterranean-style border.

pounds How much Two-litre pot plant pounds 7.99 (www.crocus.co.uk, 0844 557 2233).

GLADIOLI

NOT so long ago gladioli were thought of as old-fashioned but these days they've been elevated to the top spot and are appreciated for their colourful flower wands. The beautiful, exotic-looking blooms come in a range of colours including romantic pastels - to add glamour - and bright, bold colours to make a statement.

EXPERT TIP: Plant a dozen or so in a bold drift with herbaceous perennials such as daylilies or ornamental grasses and their tall stately flower spikes look magnificent. pounds How much 80 corms, four varieties pounds 17.98 (www.vanmeuwen.com, 0844 557 1850).

DAHLIAS

FOR sheer flower power you won't beat dahlias. You'll find a variety for every purpose from formal beds to old-fashioned cottage garden profusions, as well as lush tropical planting schemes and containers. Plant single varieties in bold groups for impact.

EXPERT TIP: To provide an armful of flowers for picking and arranging choose Cactus dahlias, which are totally reliable.

pounds How much From pounds 6.45 for a pack of 3 tubers (www.jparkers.co.uk, 0161 848 1100).

LILIES

A HANDFUL of lilies can create a dazzling display and make summer borders sizzle. There's a huge choice that includes spicy Oriental lilies and the Asiatics that come in pink, white, peach, yellow, orange and red, many with short sturdy stems ideal for pots.

EXPERT TIP: If you're short of space squeeze bulbs between clumps of perennials or among leafy ground cover so their slender stems add an extra tier of colour.

pounds How much Three Asiatic lily bulbs pounds 1.99 (www.garden4less.co.uk, 0844 414 2042).

EUCOMIS

CREATE a talking point on the patio in late summer with pots of Eucomis. They have green or chocolate spotted foliage with dramatic flowerheads made up of masses of green-tinted flowers topped with a crest of leaves resembling a pineapple - hence Eucomis's other name, "pineapple plant".

EXPERT TIP: Plant bulbs now in pots in the warmth and place outside after frost is past. pounds How much From pounds 4.95 (www.jparkers.co.uk, 0161 848 1100).

CHOCOLATE COSMOS

FORGET Easter eggs - give friends and family the deliciously chocolate fragrant Cosmos. The burgundy blooms grow above fern-like foliage on stems up to 18in tall so it's a great seethrough plant.

EXPERT TIP: It's ideal for a sunny border or in containers on a sheltered patio.

pounds How much Bulbs pounds 2.99, plugs pounds 9.99 (www.green fingers.com, 0845 345 0728).

AGAPANTHUS

AFRICAN lily or agapanthus can grow in containers from July to September. Plant bulbs now, 2in below soil level in an 8in pot of compost. Bring into growth in a porch then put outside at the end of May.

EXPERT TIP: In the garden avoid shady spots otherwise they will develop poorly or grow a mass of leaves at the expense of flowers. When flowers fade, attractive seed heads will follow. pounds How much Pack of three bulbs pounds 3.99 (www.greenfingers.com, 0845 345 0728).

CANNA

FOR a taste of the tropics randomly sprinkle Cleome seed between the dark-leaved Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff and cannas. Look for the cannas with the brightest leaves - Durban has purple, pink and orange stripes. The flowers are bright orange with big, orchid-like petals.

EXPERT TIP: All these plants are frostsensitive.

Dahlias and cannas especially are greedy plants. They perform best with plenty of water, feed and sunshine.

pounds How much pounds 5.95 (www.vale-exotics.co.uk, 01386 834343).

Easy Easter garden fixes PAGE 16

CAPTION(S):

Gladioli Dahlias Lilies Eucomis Chocolate Cosmos Allium Mix Allium with other flowers to get a Mediterranean look Agapanthus Canna
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 4, 2010
Words:709
Previous Article:do it! Jobs for the week.
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