Wordworth's favorite flowers
Flowers from bulbs
As a rough guide, bulbs are best planted at 2 and a half times it height. So the bigger hyacinth is planted deeper than the tiny snowdrop. They like a lighter soil as clay tends to make them rot. Once planted apart from a handful of granular feed, they need little attention. Daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses do need lifting and spreading out every few years, but on a whole they are best left alone. Once they have flowered leave the foliage to die back naturally as the goodness goes back into the bulb, ready for the next year. I know some people lift their bulbs, but I never have, and they flourish.
Daffodils have sap which is toxic to other flowers. Put in vases on their own at first, leave in water for at least 12 hours before mixing with other flowers and do not re-cut the stems. You could use specially formulated cut flower food for mixing daffodils with other flowers. If kept cool they will last about 1 week.
Back in the 1600’s tulip bulbs were trading at thousands of guilders in Holland. Named after the headwear the Turkish people wore these bulbs were the most fashionable thing to grow in Europe.
Daffodils come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. The traditional daffodil with the large trumpet is the one we usually think of when considering spring bulbs : and the ones Wordsworth wrote about.They are usually 18 inches to 24 inches high and a golden yellow colour. These look best planted randomly in a lawn and herald the spring, flowering late February to late March, which gave rise to their other name, the Lent Lily . Other dafodils have smaller flowers and the trumpet takes on a split form making it softer. The pheasant's eye daffodil is a beautiful little daffodil with a sweet, citrusy scent. At 14 inches, it's tall enough to naturalise in lawns. The Pheasnt's eye daffodil is a late-flowering daffodil, appearing in mid-late April.
Pheasant's eye daffodil
According to Greek mythology Hyacinth got its name when a young boy named Hyacinth was killed when a discus hit him in the head during a game. A hyacinth sprang from the cut in his head as he lay in the arms of the god Apollo, who was wailing in grief. Wild hyacinths have a pattern on their petals which look like the "A" in Greek which indicates the sound of wailing
Hyacinths bring sweet scent to the air
Hyacinths has the best fragrance of all the flowers grown from bulbs. Outside grown Hyacinths need a a granular slow release feed in the autumn and spring, also if you are lucky enough, the blooms may be so heavy that they might need staking.. Once flowering has finished the dead flowers should be removed. It is best to supply a mulch to Hyacinth plants to protect them from the cold. Hyacinth typically have a good flowering life span of about 4 years. Available in blue, white pink and pale apricot, it is the dark blue ones that are heavily sented.
Indoor grown hyacinth
If you want to plant a bowl of hyacinths to bloom at christmas, you need to buy prepared bulbs . These need to be planted in a good bulb compost in August, then watered, put in a dark place until they shoot. Bring them into the light and watch them grow. But by far the best fun is growing Hyacinths in a glass hyacinth bowl. These are available at all good garden centers.
Fill the container up to the neck with water
Place the bulb in the shallow top part of the Vase
Place in a dark place and watch the roots grow
Bring into the light and wait for it to bloom
My favourite spring flower by far. Tulips originally came from Persia and Turkey and from here, they were brought to Europe in the 16th century. They caused such a stir in Holland especially that they changed hands for thousands of pounds making and breaking millionaires. If only those people could see the wide range of colours and varieties available today, they wouldn't have bothered.The rule is to plant tulips pointed end up and 6 inches deep, meaning 4 inches of soil above the top of the bulb.
When planting a group, take the extra care to plant at exactly the same depth; this ensures that they all will bloom at the same time. With a trowel, excavate soil to create a level planting base. Set bulbs into the bed, and then cover with excavated soil. To plant Tulips at the same depth is more important in a container so they all bloom at once. I have found the main enemy to Tulips is high winds, as they can shed their petals almost as soon as they have flowered, so try to plant in a sheltered place. When choosing Tulips for your garden it is best to search the Internet as there is a tulip of any colour and size you want. Here are some Tulips that have become my favorites
- Flaming parrot- Swirls of orange and yellow fringed petals
- Modern Style- white with feathery blotches of purple
- Couleur cardinal- very dark red
Sweetheart - Soft lemon-yellow flowers
Apricot Beauty - Pale orange
Tips on planting bulbs
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