Bulbs are one of the best ways to grow your favourite seasonal blooms! Their easy to grow nature makes it effortless to produce a gorgeous display throughout each season, perfect for beginners and bulb novices.
In this gardening for beginners guide, you will learn how to plant bulbs, when to plant them, and where you can plant them in the garden for an exciting seasonal show.
Why Should You Choose Bulbs?
First things first – why bulbs? It’s simple really. Bulbs are both easy to plant and grow, perfect for someone with little gardening experience.
Each bulb holds energy, which provides life to the plant or flower. They’re space efficient, so if you have a garden that’s on the smaller side, you can still achieve a gorgeous display. In fact, you could argue that they’re even easier to grow than seeds, as you can decide exactly where each bulb is planted and plan your displays accordingly.
How to Plant Your Bulbs
As we have already mentioned, bulbs are easy to grow. Most bulbs are planted similarly, making it easier for you to do loads at once. The only thing that will make the process different is the size of the bulb. The bigger the bulb, the deeper it must be planted.
For flower beds and borders, plant your bulbs at a depth that is three times their height and spaced apart three times their width. For bigger bulbs, if you are unsure then it’s best to plant them deeper than too shallow. Place the bulb with the pointy end facing upwards. Cover with soil once planted and water generously.
To plant in pots, fill midway with compost leaving enough room to plant your bulbs at the right depth. Pop each bulb on top of the compost, spacing them apart evenly. Cover with soil towards the top of the pot and water well.
When’s the Best Time to Plant Your Bulbs?
This will depend on the type of flower you’re wanting to plant. However, a lot of bulbs should be planted in early to late Autumn, which is a common planting season for early spring and early summer blooms.
Early spring bulbs – For plants like snowdrops, hyacinths, and daffodils, plant before the end of September.
Hardy summer bulbs – For blooms like alliums and lilies, aim for late September to October.
Delicate summer bulbs – For flowers like gladioli, plant in early spring.
Autumn bulbs – Plant autumn flowering bulbs like nerines by late summer.
Where Can You Grow Bulbs?
Different bulbs prefer different climates. Hardier bulbs like the sunlight, so it’s best to position them in sunny areas of the garden. Bulbs that prefer shade, like woodland flowers, don’t mind being planted under trees and shadier spots. Make sure you check before planting, as this could damage the chances of growing a healthy and happy plant.
Colour is essential to gardening; it can transform any space and make it feel brighter or even bigger. A gardens colour scheme also help us to showcase our personality and our taste. However, getting started can be confusing, especially if you’re new to growing your own garden.
So how do you plan a colour coordinated garden display? It’s not as hard as it may seem, and we’re here to show you how.
Why Is Colour Coordinating so Important?
As we mentioned, colour schemes can make or break a garden. A cohesive and well thought out display will make a huge impact compared to a mishmash of both bold and relaxed colour.
You can transform the entire mood of any outdoor space through your gardens colour scheme. Blues and whites can make a garden feel peaceful and bigger, whereas bold and bright colours might make a smaller garden feel even smaller as the colour appears to be closer.
How to Use Colour In the Garden
To start off, decide on what colours you prefer. What is your favourite colour? What colour would you like to wake up to every morning? Which colours will have a positive impact on your mood? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself before you begin.
Next, think about what you’d like to achieve in your garden. For example, if you’d like your garden to feel bigger, then maybe it’s best to go for cooler tones like whites, greens, and blues.
When trying to plan a complete colour scheme, think of the colour wheel. Colours that complement each other will make an overall better display, rather than one that’s a bit mismatched and eclectic.
Don’t forget that green foliage is also a colour in your garden! Green has a calming effect, perfect for pairing with both soft and bold colours.
If you’re new to gardening, it might feel like there’s so much to learn and so little time to learn it in. This is completely normal, as there are so many different plants and flowers that require individual attention and care.
We have pulled together a list of 10 secrets you should know before getting started for an easy gardening process.
Perennials require your patience Perennial plants are a gardeners bread and butter. However, they can take 2-3 years to grow to their full height and potential. This is completely normal, but something to bear in mind when planning your seasonal displays.
Pick a Season Before starting your gardening journey, decide on a specific flowering season before buying plants and flowers. It’s best to learn the basics in one season at a time, rather than trying to master them all at once.
Know Your Hardiness Zone Wherever your live, you will have a hardiness zone. This tells you which plants will survive different weather conditions in your area. For example, you might struggle to find winter flowers that thrive in your garden if you often experience particularly harsh weather.
Dead Heading Flowers Promotes Healthy Growth If you’re new to gardening, dead heading healthy buds might seem ridiculous, but there is method to the madness. Many flowers will fade before their season has ended, leaving your display feeling sad and dejected. Deadheading your flowers will encourage the bulb to continuously provide new flowers to keep your display looking fresher for longer.
Understand Your Plants Needs Specifically, how much sunlight does your plant need? Failure to plan will decrease your plants chance of survival throughout the season. Make sure you know where to grow each plant and how much sunlight it will need to grow properly.
6. Make Your Own Mulch and Compost Natural compost and mulch will do your plants more good than chemical fertilizers. Going DIY on your plants will also help the environment, reducing your carbon footprint where it matters. Read our blog on how to create a sustainable garden for more information on DIY compost.
7. Spring Flowering Bulbs By general rule of thumb, plant your hardy spring-flowering bulbs in autumn before the first frosts. Cover with mulch to keep warm and protect against the harsh winter weather.
8. Know Your Soils Quality If you’ve recently started gardening or have just moved into a new home, you may not know if your soil is plant ready. The best soil is well-drained, filled with natural amendments such as organic compost and manure. It should accept water easily, and only use fertilizer if you know it’s organic.
9. Water Your Plants Correctly Many online sources might tell you to water your plants regularly, especially throughout summer. However, it’s usually best to give your ground plants a deep watering once a week to make sure the water reaches the root. Regular light watering only dampens the top of the soil and doesn’t actually reach the root.
10. Be In Control of Your Weeds Weeds are a gardeners worst nightmare. By their nature, they are annoying and stubborn, and it can be easy to grab a toxic weeding solution to get rid of the problem quickly. However, the most effective way to weed your garden is by hand or by hoe. Take your time to ensure the entire weed is out of the ground.
As spring approaches and frosts begin to clear, you start to notice the carnage that winter had on your garden. When the weather slowly but surely gets warmer, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to get our tools out, put our gloves on, and get to work.
If your garden is in desperate need of a spring clean, these jobs will help you to get your ducks in a row before the season officially begins.
Inspect Your Flower Beds
If you’ve left your annual plants, then chances are that they’re looking a bit worse for wear by the time spring arrives. It’s time to dig them up and throw them into the compost! This is also the perfect time to inspect your beds, pull up any weeds, and give your flower beds an all-round tidy.
Prune, Prune, & Prune Some More
Winter zaps life out of our beautiful plants, leaving your garden feeling bare and a bit sad. In our spring clean, we can make a big difference to our gardens appearance by giving our perennials and evergreens a bit of a trim and cutting back any long and unnecessary branches. Take time to inspect all your woody bushes, shrubs, perennials and grasses so that you feel the full effect!
Clean Up Your Edges
Mulch is like the golden grail of soil additives. It helps your soil to retain water, nourishes your plants, provides nutrients, and goes as far as cooling down the roots on warmer days. This might be a step you wait to do until late March once the weather warms up, as it’s best to add mulch when the soil dries up a bit.
And finally, before planting your annual summer plants and blooms, give your flower beds that extra edge (pun intended) by edging the grass and trimming the line between your flower bed and your lawn. Not only does it give it a clean and crisp effect, but it will add that perfect final flourish to end your spring clean.
Planting plug plants is one of the easiest ways to grow your favourite seasonal blooms. Whether you order Maxi, Rapid, or Garden Ready plugs, each one has a similar process that is quick and easy.
However, if you’re new to gardening then it’s useful to know where and how to start planting your plug plants.
Maxi and Rapid Plugs – Step 1
Our easy to plant plug plants come in trays that are effortless to unpack. For maxi and rapid plugs, it’s important to unpack them and add moisture to the compost before you can plant plug plants outside.
To remove a plant from the tray, use the end of a pencil to gently push it out from the bottom. Give each plug a small pot so that it can retain moisture before potting on after a few weeks if the weather allows.
Maxi and Rapid Plug – Step 2
Add a little compost to each pot, and make a hole in the centre that is slightly bigger than the plug. Pop it in, pat down gently and water tenderly.
It’s best to use a watering can rather than a hose, as they are rather delicate. Keep on a window sill or a sunny warehouse for 4-5 weeks until it’s time to plant your plug plant in your desired location.
Garden Ready Plugs
If you’ve ordered Garden Ready plugs, these can be planted straight away if the weather allows. However, these can also be put into pots to grow out before planting on if you deem necessary.
Perfect for beginners, Rhubarb is a brilliant crop as it is so easy to grow and maintain. Both hardy and attractive, this crop is a versatile addition to your early spring/mid-summer garden.
If you’ve bought some Rhubarb and you’re not too sure when, how or where to plant it, use this easy-to-follow guide as a reference for fuss-free gardening tips.
When to Plant Rhubarb
Rhubarb is an incredible hardy crop. It can be grown in various months throughout the year. If you prefer an early growth, you can ‘force’ your crowns to grow by covering with large pots.
To force, plant and cover in December to February. Otherwise, Rhubarb should be planted in Spring or Autumn when the soil is slightly warmer.
How to Plant Rhubarb
To force rhubarb, you can cover the crown of the plant with pots to cut off sun exposure. When the stems reach the top of the pot, is time to pick.
For regular planting, position your crowns in a sunny or partially shaded area. Plant in rich and moist soil, prepared with plenty of manure and compost. Section 90cm apart for best results.
Where to Plant Your Rhubarb
Rhubarb can be planted in pots, but it will achieve best results when planted in vegetable patches with plenty of space. The area must reach plenty of sunlight throughout the season.
When growing rhubarb, it’s important to know that you should not be ingesting or using the leaves in any recipes. They are highly toxic and should be disposed of in a compost heap after harvesting. However, the stems are the star of the show and can be used in plenty of recipes for wowing family and friends.
With Spring just around the corner, February is the month that puts a bit of pep in our step! The weather will become warmer, the days will get longer, and our gardens will slowly start to come to life.
As you may have guessed, there’s lots to get on with in your garden this month. Although it’s a bit too early to start planting your summer flowers, your hardy spring bulbs and plants can just about handle the colder weather. Find out what else you can get up to in this months round-up!
Chit Your Potatoes
Is 2021 the year you start to grow your own produce? Potatoes are a great place to start, as they take minimal effort and we all love the end result! February is the month where you start to chit your early potatoes (commonly known as baby or new potatoes). To find out more, read our blog about growing early potatoes here.
Plant Fruit Trees
You can ideally plant your fruit trees from November to the end of February. If you’re planning on growing your trees this year, then now is the best time to get them in the ground, as they will be in their dormant season. If you need advice on how to grow your fruit trees, read our easy to follow guide.
Prep Your Vegetable Patches
Similar to our potato tip, now is the perfect time to get your vegetable patches ready for sowing and growing throughout spring! There are plenty of veggies to grow in the spring season, such as cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes.
Lilies are an elegant summer flower that are praised for their appearance and versatility in cut flower displays. They are a popular choice among many gardeners as they aren’t only easy on the eyes, but easy to grow as well.
However, if you’re new to growing lilies, the when and how part of planting your favourite blooms can be a bit daunting. Follow our easy guide to effortlessly grow your new lily bulbs, just in time for the summer season.
When to Plant Lilies
Plant your lily bulbs in late autumn to early spring. This could be anywhere from late October to early April to see them flower throughout the summer months.
How to Plant Lilies
The colder the season, the deeper you should plant your bulbs. As a standard rule of thumb, plant your lily bulbs 15cm apart and 3 times their depth and width.
Where to Plant Your Lilies
To plant your lily bulbs, ensure that they’re sitting in moist and well-drained soil or compost and have access to direct sunlight. Allow its foliage to die down naturally after flowering.
Peel and halve your potatoes and put into your large pot on the stove. Fill with water until it covers the potatoes and bring to the boil. Simmer until soft.
Once your potatoes have cooked, drain using your strainer or pan lid and put back into the pan. Mash thoroughly with a splash of milk and knob of butter. Season well with salt and black pepper to taste. Put to one side before going onto the next step.
Put 25g of butter and 25g of plain flour into your medium pan. Finely slice your 4 spring onions and add those to the pan too. Put on a low to medium heat and stir till the butter has melted. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Whisk in 400ml of milk with a balloon whisk or fork. Bring to the boil and stir well to break down any lumps. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes till thickened.
Once thickened, take off the heat and add your fish mix, your mustard, chives, peas, and sweetcorn. Mix together and pour into your oven-proof dish.
Flatten down with a spoon and add your mash potatoes on top. Evenly sprinkle your cheese to the top of the mash layer.
Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
What can you add to this recipe?
If you prefer a bit more of a kick to your food, add some chilli flakes to the top of the potato layer before adding the cheese. If you grow your own potatoes, this recipe is perfect for their debut!
How long can you store this dish?
Place any leftovers in a sealed container and pop in the fridge for a maximum of two to three days. Alternatively, you can place leftovers in a well-sealed container and put in the freezer for longer keeping. Heat through thoroughly in the oven before eating.
Dahlias are an impressive flower to showcase in the garden. Their large blooms and exciting variety of colours and shapes creates an incredible display throughout the summer.
Full of life and vibrancy, it’s easy to see why they’re a seasonal favourite among gardener’s. Although Dahlias offer plenty to the garden on their own, discovering new and exciting Dahlia companions can take your displays to new heights. With that in mind, we have chosen our favourite Dahlia companion plants to consider for your summer gardens.
Echinacea’s produce beautiful blooms, each one boasting with colour. Flowers from July to September and will add dimension to your Dahlia displays.
Shop Our Range of Echinacea
Geraniums are often considered a British summer garden staple. Their wide range and variety provides you with plenty of option for your seasonal display.
Shop Our Range of Geraniums
Originating from South Africa, Crocosmia boasts with beautiful blooms in vibrant shades throughout the summer. They’re also incredibly hardy, making them a perfect Dahlia companion plant.
Shop Our Range of Crocosmia
Last but by no means the least is the beautiful Verbena. Blooming all season long, this versatile flower is an essential summer garden addition whether planting with Dahlias or on their own.