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Bulbs

What is a bulb?

Corms, rhizomes, tubers and bulbs are collectively called ‘bulbs'. They are storage organs for the next season's stems, leaves and flowers.
There are bulbs for many places in the garden from dense shade to dry and sunny.

Using bulbs in the garden

Spring bulbs can be used to make a formal spring bedding display, planted en masse and then replaced by summer bedding later in the season. Hyacinths and Tulips work well for this as they have a sculptural form. They should be planted in blocks of colour for best effect. If you use plants with different flowering times you will get a longer season of interest e.g. Tulips, use some that flower in early April, some late April and some May.

Spring bulbs can be interplanted with later perennials so that you get colour and interest before the perennials start to take over.

Grow tall bulbs through ground cover plants to create height and interest.

Spring bulbs also look great under shrubs with Winter interest e.g. Snowdrops around Cornus where the white flowers contrast the red stems.

Bulbs can be used to create a carpet on the ground e.g. Anemone blanda.

They can be used in containers to add a splash of colour to the patio.

Naturalise bulbs under specimen deciduous trees or in grass.

Buying bulbs

You need to choose bulbs with care to ensure they will perform well.

  • Press them between your thumb and forefinger. They should be firm. If they are soft, this is a sign of rot.
  • Avoid any that show signs of fungal infection (white patches).
  • Choose the biggest available for the cultivar that you want.
  • Buy as soon as you can to get the best choice.
  • Once purchased they need to be stored in a cool, dry place until planting time.

Planting and maintenance

Most bulbs like a light free draining soil although some tolerate it more damp like Camassias, Daffodils and Snowdrops.

Unless you have very free draining soil, it is worth adding some sharp grit to the bottom of the planting hole to aid drainage.

Once flowered, you need to cut down the flower stem to allow the plants energy to go into building reserves for next year rather than into food production.

Examples of bulbs

Click on any of the images below to enlarge and read more information

“We were really impressed with the design service offered by Jayne. Jayne was able to take our initial brief and translate this into a stunning contemporary design that really made the most of the small space we had and provided a great backdrop to our new kitchen extension. The combination of hard landscaping and planting have completely transformed the garden. Over several meetings she was able to communicate the concepts and hone the design and even sample materials. She then recommended and then liaised with the landscaper to ensure the implementation went to plan before completing the final planting.”

Mrs Fenner
Marston Moretaine

"I found Jayne to be very friendly and pleasant to work with. The design is lovely - very attractive. I was impressed with Jayne's willingness to adapt to and take account of our cost constraints and likes and dislikes regarding plants. All work was carried out efficiently and pleasantly. Jayne was always ready to discuss and advise about design and plants and has transformed a boring and rather difficult small garden into an interesting area which will only improve as the plants grow and mature."

Mr & Mrs Barwell
Welwyn Garden City

We love our garden now. Our two dogs had pretty much destroyed it and it had become an embarrassment. We never used it, not even just for ourselves. It now has structure and a proper patio area and is always good to look at even in this bleak weather!

This will be our second spring with it and I'm really looking forward to seeing everything grows again and how it will change this year.

Mr & Mrs Crooke
Flitton

Jayne was always totally reliable, whether coming out to look at the garden or providing plans and ideas, and is a very knowledgeable plantswoman.

She had a good understanding of what I wanted to do with the garden, and always listened to my ideas and then made suggestions that were appropriate to the location and aspect.

Mr & Mrs Townsend
Houghton Conquest

Jayne's ideas of how to transform a long straight garden into something more interesting were quite inspirational. By introducing shape and perspective the garden now has structure.

The planting plan she suggested has added interest and constant colour which changes with the season.

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Mr & Mrs Collier
Pulloxhill

We were delighted with Jayne's approach to our garden and her understanding of what we were trying to achieve.

Her knowledge of plants and what will actually work is fantastic.

Three years on we are still delighted with our garden.

Mr & Mrs Bryant
Pulloxhill

Jayne has a real passion for gardening and her knowledge of plants is highly impressive. She seems to know exactly which plant will thrive in a particular part of the garden - sunny, shady, soil type and so on. She also thinks about the proportions and overall effect.

To work with, she is extremely flexible and happy to give you just the bits of advice or help you need.

Mel Henson
Welwyn Garden City