If you want a glorious summer garden display this year the simple and easy solution is to plant summer-flowering bulbs.
As easy to grow as the earlier spring flowering bulbs, they are actually planted when the latter are at their peak of perfection and they quickly grow into prolifically flowering plants.
Although it may surprise new gardeners as well as some of the more experienced one’s, there is now a most remarkable and expanding collection of bulbs, corms, tubers and rhizomes that bring a blaze of colour and dramatic display from June to the end of October and even later if the first hard frosts are delayed.
Summer-flowering bulbs are on the whole no more difficult to grow than their spring counterparts, and any home gardener can use his or her imagination and individual taste to produce a spectacular and even unusual display.
These bulbs will not only transform gardens into floral bowers, but they can also bring summer into the home, for many of the cultivars available make excellent, long-lasting cut flowers.
In fact, some summer-flowering bulbs, can indeed be only grown in the home, greenhouse, conservatory or cold frame because of their ‘tender’ nature.
Each type, indeed each variety of bulbous plant in the great summer collection has its distinctive characteristics or qualities - its particular flowering time, stature, form, habit, colour and often fragrance.
It is the combination of the qualities of each which provide clues to the way or ways it can most effectively be employed in a particular garden- in beds, borders, rockeries, along walls, fences or hedge bottoms, naturalised in lawns and wild areas, in outdoor containers or for cut flowers. The list of garden applications is almost endless.
The time for planting, depth and distance apart, varies with the type of bulb and individual species or cultivar much more than with spring-flowering bulbs and specific guidance is almost invariably given at the time of purchase.
Broadly speaking, summer-flowering bulbs, corns, tubers and rhizomes are available for planting from March to June according to type.
Some of these summer-flowering bulbs such as anemones, galtonias lilies, montbretia and ranunculus, can be left in the ground during the winter months, provided that they are given protection from frosts by suitable mulching.
Winter mulches should be applied only after the first hard frosts and thaws which disturb the soil and consequently damage the roots of the bulbs.
The more tender bulbs must be lifted after the first frost, cleaned and stored indoors during the winter in a frost-free, well-ventilated place until planting time the following spring.
Gardeners who fail to capitalise on the spring planting season for bulbs are depriving themselves, their gardens and homes of a fabulous succession of colour and off-beat display from the end of tulip time until the first hard frosts of winter.