This is the weekend for bulb-panic. Have you forgotten to buy them or to plant them? Spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths should be in by the end of September, while tulips should be planted in November.
The negligent gardener is in a quandary: is it worth planting the mixed bulbs now or is it better to wait for November or even spring?
According to the RHS spring flowering and hardy summer flowering bulbs should be in the ground in autumn while tender summer flower bulbs should be planted in early spring and autumn flowering bulbs by later summer.
Try to stick to their advice but if you’ve already left it too late for the spring flowering ones, don’t worry. Stick them in now or as soon as we get a good weekend. Bulbs tend to be amazingly tolerant and most of them will probably come up and flower, giving that amazing display that lifts the spirits after the dark summer days.
Delaying until November has a definite plus if you’ve forgotten to buy bulbs. By this time of year summer markets, garden centres and on-line nurseries will be marking their bulbs down. Snap them up and don’t worry too much about what type of flower – they all make a welcome splash of colour. Plant in groups of six or more to improve the display. You need about 30 to 40 to make a really mammoth show. Most bulbs should be planted about twice or three times their depth. Stick them in with the pointy bit upwards and space at least a bulb’s width apart. If the ground is moist don’t bother to water but if dry, water immediately.