Autumn Planting for Spring Colours
Matthew Biggs Autumn Gardening Tips
Matthew Biggs shares his advice for what to do this Autumn.
After a long, hot summer it may seem strange to think of the grey, cold early days of the New Year – but now is the time to plant bulbs. Garden centres and nurseries are full of the most tempting displays of tulips, narcissi, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus and as with many things, the early bird gets the biggest choice!
Whether you have acres of space just ideal for naturalising bulbs, or a pot in a window box there is something for everyone, and a day or weekend spent planning in the Autumn will bring rich rewards.
Everyone has a favourite Spring flower, from the tiny fragrant narcissi to the big showy parrot tulips and you can also plan for a long display by planting a spread of early through to late flowering varieties and moving pots to prominence as they flower, or indeed planting bulbs in the same spot but at different depths and with different varieties to take over from one another. The possibilities are almost endless – and it is a great opportunity to take a cuppa to a quiet corner and spend an hour or so mulling over the catalogues and drawing up plans and colour schemes – and for a keen gardener this is surely one of the most enjoyable of all activities!
Bulbs are also great for getting children involved in the garden – they can choose their own bulbs, learn a little about depths and measuring, mark or paint pots if they use them, or a small patch of ground can be marked out with pebbles, and then the excitement of watching the small green spears of Spring turn into beautiful flowers. It costs so little to buy a really good range of bulbs and the ongoing interest is great for children to keep engaged in the growing process – just make sure little hands are washed as bulbs are treated – and then wait for the fun to start.
However, much space you have, and however experienced a gardener you are, bulbs should find a place in everyone’s Spring!
Matthew is a radio and TV presenter, member of BBC Gardeners’ Question Time Panel and author of a number of books, his latest is ‘RHS The Secrets of Great Botanists and What They Teach Us About Gardening’.
It is an informative and beautifully – presented guide to 35 botanists, plant collectors and gardening pioneers of past and present, from the creators of the best-selling ‘RHS Botany for Gardeners’.