Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bulbs Are a Really Bright Idea; Just Thinking of the Glorious Spring Colour Should Help You through Winter

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bulbs Are a Really Bright Idea; Just Thinking of the Glorious Spring Colour Should Help You through Winter

Article excerpt

AS ONE season draws to a sunny close, it's time to leapfrog the next and consider some of the plants that herald renewed colour in our spring and early summer gardens.

Autumn is the time to plant spring and hardy summer bulbs, so let's consider what's on offer so you can plan your purchases online, by mail order or in the garden centres now.

Leave it too late and all the best stuff will be gone.

I've been browsing the catalogues looking for good offers and interesting varieties and here's what I found: TULIPS THEY look wonderful in flower but not so good once they have finished flowering. For this reason, it can be good to display them in containers where they can be whisked away once their colourful performance has finished.

Daytona, right, is a variety displayed by Avon Bulbs at their awardwinning stand at the Chelsea Flower Show this year that attracted a lot of attention.

This is a May-flowering fringed tulip with glistening white single cup-shaped flowers and a sparkling frosted fringe - just gorgeous! (PS5.75 for 10 bulbs, avonbulbs.co.uk, 01460 242177).

Or cause a stir with something really different - Unwins has a dazzling new variety called Blue Wow with intensely coloured peonylike blooms that appear in April and May (PS6.95 for 12 bulbs, unwins.co.uk, 0844 573 8400).

I also love the dramatic combination on offer from Bakker - this is a pack of almost black tulips 'Paul Scherer' and fringed bright yellow tulips 'Mon Amour' (PS9.95 for 15 bulbs, bakker.com/en-gb, 0344 481 1001).

Remember to delay planting tulips until late October or November to reduce the possibility of diseases and plant in a sunny, well-drained position.

ALLIUMS THESE are a firm favourite with me - I love the way they pop up their cheerful spherical heads, like purple balls suspended mid-air.

'Purple Sensation', left, is the reliable variety to choose for flowering in mid-May.

Sarah Raven has great value collections of alliums that will flower successionally from May through to July, both in purple and white. …

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