SPRING LOADED; Plant bulbs now to make your garden..
TULIPMANIA is rife in gardening circles and it's easy to see why as they fill the garden with colour and shape in late spring. They're easy to grow and can be planted from now to November.
from now to November.
Expert tip: The De Jager nursery will share 100,000 bulbs between Chatsworth, Alnwick Garden, Leeds Castle, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Powerscourt and Waddesdon Manor so visit at tulip time. pounds How much? Bulbs around pounds 6.80 for 10 (www.dejager.co.uk, 01622 840229).
ROTARY Club's Thanks for Life campaign aims to raise awareness of polio by asking people to plant crocuses this weekend. In February they'll burst into purple bloom. Info at www.focusonthecrocus.org Expert tip: Place bulbs in the ground pointed side up, resting firmly at the bottom of the hole. pounds How much? Ruby Giant Purple crocus pounds 3.99 for 25 (www.gardens4you.co.uk, 0808 234 7223).
DAFFODILS always beat the winter blues and February Gold is one of the earliest to flower. International Flower Bulb Centre's judges voted it 2010 spring bulb of the year.
Expert tip: Get daffs in the ground as soon as possible, planting bulbs 4-6in deep and 4in apart. After flowering, feed with Growmore and remove spent heads, but don't cut back or tidy foliage before June.
pounds How much? pounds 2.99 for 10 (www.crocus.co.uk, 0844 557 2233).
THE bulbs might be fragile but Crown Imperial or fritilaria produces dramatic 40in stems with bell-shaped crowns of yellow, orange or scarlet. Plant in pots or the back of beds with perennials that flower later on.
Expert tip: Plant bulbs in a sunny spot, 8in deep on their sides to prevent water collecting in the top, which has an indent.
pounds How much? pounds 5.69 each (www.flowerbulbsinc.co.uk, 020 3318 4418).
KNOWN as wind flowers because the daisy-like blooms dance in the slightest breeze, Anemone blanda come in pale and dark blue, mauve or pink and white.
Expert tip: Soak bulbs overnight in tepid water before planting 2in deep in bold drifts or grow in pots with primroses and daffodils. pounds How much? From pounds 4.45 for 50 (www.jparkers.co.uk, 0161 848 1100).
Mtws GRAPE HYACINTH
MUSCARI or grape hyacinths can almost be thrown on the ground and left to spread like wild fire. Blooms appear in April and May, in shades of blue, purple, lilac, white and yellow.
Expert tip: They make great cut flowers and ast up to a week if picked when few florets are open. Can be dried for winter arrangements.
lo pounds How much? pounds 2.99 each (www.notcutts.co.uk, 0844 879 4166) DUTCH HYACINTH DUTCH hyacinths produce stout spikes laced with fragrant bell-shaped blooms, appearing as early as March. Plant in pots 6-8in deep or in blocks 4-6in apart.
Expert tip: Force hyacinths into flower over 10-14 weeks by keeping in the dark until the shoots grow 2in and then bring into a cool, well-lit spot.
pounds How much? pounds 1.77 for five (www.garden-4less.co.uk, 01285 543 974).
ALLIUM THE giant drumstick blooms of Ornamental Onions or Alliums look stunning poking through clumps of herbaceous plants and ornamental grasses in sunny borders.
Expert tip: Waterlogged gardens are not ideal for growing alliums, so add some grit when planting if you garden on heavy clay. All types must be in the ground by November to flower in June.
pounds How much? From pounds 2 for five plants (www.greatwesterngladiolus.com, 01761 452036).
WIN tulip bulbs
WE'VE got 10 parcels of tulip bulbs to give away. To mark the nationwide BIG BULB PLANT campaign (www.thebigbulbplant.com) the International Flower Bulb Centre is offering parcels containing a selection of tulips to ensure you have continual colour throughout spring. The packs contain earlyflowering tulips Beauty Queen, Peach Blossom and Christmas Dream; and late-flowering tulips Angelique, Purple Prince and Black Parrot. For a chance to win, email your postal address to firstname.lastname@example.org (please write 'Sunday Mirror Giveaway' in the subject box) by October 10, 2010. Winners are first 10 chosen at random after closing date. Normal MGN rules and conditions apply.
Allium Daffodils Dutch hyacinth Wind flowers Crocus Grape hyacinth Tulips The variety of colour and shapes available make tulips a popular choice in almost every garden