January 22, 2018

Alan Titchmarsh: ‘Think ahead this autumn and your garden will have the best results’ | Garden | Life & Style

Alan Titchmarsh: ‘Think ahead this autumn and your garden will have the best results’ | Garden | Life & Style

I’m not. It’s just that I don’t want you to miss out on the delights of spring 2018 and the time to ensure you are not disappointed is now, since spring-flowering bulbs take six or eight months from planting before they flower.

That may seem a long time but bear in mind that the first two months will be autumn, when you are busy sweeping up leaves, and the next three will be winter, when you expect little of your garden.

The result is that just when you’d forgotten about them, the bulbs you planted in autumn burst into flower and cheer you up. 

I’ve encouraged you on these pages to plant dwarf daffodils and narcissi in pockets of earth in between shrubs and border perennials but now I want to sing the praises of even smaller beauties – dwarf irises.

Plant the varieties of Iris reticulata and you will enjoy elegant flowers on slender 6in high stems.

They may not be as tall as the bearded irises that flower in June but they are every bit as intricately marked. 

They emerge before their narrow, rapier-like leaves in various shades of blue and purple, contrastingly marked with yellow, white and midnight blue. To enjoy them at close quarters, snip a few and pop them in a tiny pot.

They even have a delicate fragrance. Iris histrioides ‘Major’ is shorter, at 4-5in, and a lighter shade of blue, but it is well worth growing and will multiply year on year, given well-drained soil and a spot in sun or dappled shade.

But I grow Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’, which is the most amazing confection of white, blue and yellow and looks like a flower that might have been painted by Salvador Dalí.

If you don’t like his work, don’t let that put you off the acceptable face of surrealism. This dainty iris has grown steadily larger year on year in my garden.

Seek out the sleek bulbs of all these irises and plant them now in groups, 2in deep and 3in apart in rock gardens or at the front of beds and borders.

Come spring you’ll not regret it. Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and Tip Of The Day every weekday in the Daily Express.

For more information on his range of gardening products visit alantitchmarsh.com.

Source link

About The Author

Related posts

Leave a Reply