Our Spring Bulb Favourites

This month we tasked our horticulturist Jude with picking her three favourite spring bulbs, after a long hard think she managed to pick her favourites and has talked about them all below.

Dry bulbs are usually planted in Autumn but we’ve already brought some on and potted them up for you, you can either leave them potted on or plant them in your very own garden for a lovely splash of Spring colour. They can all be purchased here from our online shop.

Iris reticulata cultivars.

Iris reticulata or dwarf Iris bring a welcome splash of colour to the garden at a time when many other plants are dormant and asleep. They certainly cheer the soul at a time when there isn’t much else to look at. They really cheer me up no end!

Dwarf Iris are in the Iridaceae family, require sun to partial shade and well-drained soil to enable them to grow well. They reach around 20cm in height and spread. Go on! Plant some in your own garden in beds and borders or terracotta pots for the patio.

Iris ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ is a dwarf Iris with beautiful veining across its petals which have pale blue and yellow markings. We have these for sale here at Winterbourne and they are planted in the Scree bed opposite the Orchid House.

Also, when they are in season they are planted in terracotta pots and plunged into the beds in the Alpine Glasshouse. I really like to see them in their as they look so pretty and they are at a height where they can be looked down upon without bending down.

Crocus species and cultivars.

Crocus are another cheery addition to any garden. They can be planted en-masse in the ground, under trees or in pots; it is sensible if planted in the ground to plunge some chicken wire over them, which will need to be buried underground, if you have a squirrel problem as we sometimes have here at Winterbourne. An upside down hanging basket can also be utilised and plunged over the Crocus in the same way. In addition, they can be buried deeper than twice their depth to help combat them being dug up.

Like the Iris reticulata, we have plenty planted in the Nicolson Rocks, the Scree bed and as a rotation in the Alpine House. The conditions they require are sun to partial shade with well-drained soil. Crocus grow from a corm which is otherwise known as a swollen stem. They are all generally about 10cm in height and spread.

Crocus ‘Snow Bunting’ really is my favourite. It has gorgeous white flowers and is one that actually does really well in terracotta pots here at Winterbourne. They stay really nice and compact and flower in early Spring. Why not try these for yourself?

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-tete’

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-tete’ is a miniature daffodil which has stunning bright yellow flowers between February and April which are 20cm in height and spread. They are in the Amaryllidaceae family and they require full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil.

At Winterbourne we have them planted along the front drive in between summer flowering catmint and also planted along the inside of the Nut-Walk. Their bright yellow flowers really cheer up any beds and borders. They are also placed around in pots in the spring, anywhere which needs brightening up such as on the Terrace or by the Tea Room.

There are numerous other good species and cultivars of early flowering and dwarf daffodils such as: Narcissus ‘February Gold,’ Narcissus cyclamineus, Narcissus ‘Minnow’ and Narcissus ‘Jetfire’, you really are spoilt for choice! In my opinion, Narcissus ‘Tete-a-tete’ is the most reliable, so that’s the one we have on sale. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!

I do hope that the bulbs that I have mentioned will really whet your appetite. I highly recommend you give them a try and allow them to cheer up your life as they do for me.

Judith Lynes-Bryan.

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