Archive for the ‘Autumn’ Category


Brighter Bulbs

September 22, 2012

I think that this time in the gardening year is so exciting with the new season of bulbs coming into the shops and garden centres. I’ve just recently treated myself to a bag of tulip bulbs aptly named ‘Red Riding Hood’ which will be a rich red colour with flamboyant bold wide leaves which will have dark maroon markings.

Other bulbs that I’ll be looking out for will be a tall variety of the purple Allium, which is the Latin name for “garlic” and these bulbs are part of the ornamental onion family. I’ll be planting these so that they’ll grow through some silver foliaged plants to make what I think is an attractive colour combination of the lilac-purple and silver colour scheme.

I think planting in combinations can have a stunning effect and it’s fun to experiment with different contrasts, foliage, colours and shapes.

One combination I have in my own garden at the moment consists of black grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ planted together with the almost black coloured tulip ‘Queen of the Night’.

You can tell I love black flowers and plants.

Bulbs are so useful in the garden as they take up little space and are super to use as fillers amongst other plants and like I said, you can create decorative planting combinations with them. Another way to use bulbs is to plant them into pots or containers and use them in the borders where you have gaps and after they have finished flowering you can simply move them elsewhere.

Another interesting way to use bulbs in the garden is to naturalise them into a grassy area. Daffodils, Crocuses and the small variety of Fritillaria with its delicate nodding bell flower heads are great for this.

The secret to planting these bulbs is to just get a small handful of bulbs and throw them down onto the ground and where they fall is where you plant them. This way you will get a more natural look as opposed to planting them specifically in a set pattern.

For those of you without a garden, you can still make use of bulbs, as there are so many that can be grown indoors.

One indoor bulb that’s familiar to many is the Hyacinth, which is often grown in a glass container filled with water so you could see the roots growing. Hyacinths have a wonderful strong scent that can certainly fill the house.

Many indoor bulbs come already planted up in containers and are all set to grow without much preparation, however you can easily plant up your own container with spring-flowering bulbs of small daffodils, tulips, crocuses and irises. Plant some small leafed ivy into the container to add extra foliage interest and voila, you have your own instant indoor mini spring garden.



The Creeping Up Of A New Season

September 14, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-41.JPGAs I see the first signs of the Virginia creeper’s leaves starting to turn red I know that autumn is just around the corner, but September is still a vibrant and colourful month in the garden.

One ‘sunny’ flower that is in it’s full glory this time of year is the Rudbeckia, with the common name of Black-eyed Susan, as it has a blackish-brown centre with yellow daisy-like flowers. These are easy and reliable plants to grow in any sunny spot and can grow up to three feet tall to make a super late summer, through to early autumn, display in a flower border.

Another ‘good doer’ for the late summer garden is the Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant’, which is a clump forming deciduous perennial with upright stems of fleshly leaves that have clusters of small pink star-shaped flowers. This plant has the common name of Ice Plant, as the glaucous fleshly leaves are always cool to the touch. The attractive flower seed head can be left on the Sedum throughout the winter to give interest and then cut away when they have got too tattered.

A climber that is really showing off in my garden at the moment is the Passiflora caerulea, the Blue Passion Flower. The flower of this plant is so exotic and unusual; I really do marvel at its exceptional splendour. This is a fast growing semi evergreen climber that likes a hot sheltered wall and it produces bright orange plum sized fruits in the autumn. Passion Flowers come in a range of other colours such as white, magenta pink, red and purple, but these are not so hardy as the blue variety.

Another pretty climber which is also useful for summer and autumn interest is the Clematis tangutica. It has these lovely dainty lantern-like nodding yellow flowers that transform into wonderful silky swirls of seed heads. This Clematis can grow to a height of fifteen feet and can be hard pruned down to about a foot in spring to give new fresh growth for next season.

There are many enthusiastic and passionate Dahlia growers and I can certainly understand why they’re so keen about this particular flower. The flower heads are truly amazing and their forms range from single petals, to pompom, ball and to decorative forms.

Dahlias flower from mid-summer to autumn until the first frost and also come in a wide variety of colours from whites to reds, yellows to oranges, light pinks to deep purples and will look super in borders. Most Dahlias will need to be lifted unless it is in a frost-free area. After the leaves have been blackened by the first frost, dig out the tubers, brush off the soil and leave in a cool dry place to dry naturally. Then simply dust with a fungicide, pack in boxes of peat or dry sand and store in a cool dry place. The tubers can then be planted out next spring after all danger of any frost has passed.


Bright Ideas With Bulbs

March 13, 2012

When we think of bulbs we tend to think of spring bulbs, but there are so many summer and autumn bulbs available to plant out now.

If you didn’t get around to planting your spring bulbs last autumn, garden centres are now selling growing flowering spring bulbs in pots that you can simply plant into your garden for instant colour.

Bulbs are an extremely useful element for the garden as they take up a small about of space and are really useful in filling up spaces around other plants in the border. A useful gardening design tip is to plant bulbs into containers and dot these around the garden wherever you’ve got a dull space and after the bulbs have gone over then the container can be put somewhere out of sight.

bulbs.jpgOne lovely bulb that was a firm favourite of my grandmother, is the Gladiolus. She grew several rows of them to enjoy as cut flowers in the home. The Gladioli is one of best showy blowsy summer bulbs that come in a vast selection of colours.

I think that the stars among summer bulbs have to be the Lilies with their super elegant scented colourful flowers. Most Lilies are easy to grow and will last several years if planted in rich well-drained soil. Just remember to watch out for bright red coloured Lilies Beetles that like to munch on and ruin the plant.

For an exotic bulb you could choose the Eucomis Bicolor, otherwise know as the Pineapple lily because of its resemblance a pineapple. As this plant is quite tender, do plant it in a sheltered sunny spot with well-drained soil and remember to mulch in winter.

Don’t forget about getting some bulbs for late summer seasonal colour in your garden too. You could opt for the bright fiery colours of yellow, orange and reds of Crocosmia, you may know this as Montbretia. Plant this in bold clumps for best effect in your border and they look specatacular as cut flowers in the home too.

For some autumn colour you could go for Nerine bowdenii. This bulb has pretty small scented pink Lilly like flowers on long stems. This cheerful autumn bulb comes in white too and flowers best when the clump has aged and got congested, so it’s very useful as autumn filler in the flower border.

So remember bulbs aren’t just for spring, but can be used to give interest and colour in the garden through summer and autumn.


Image in this article: Photographer: Ian Britton