Gardening: Plant bulbs now for spring display

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Nothing beats the sight of pretty spring bulbs after a long, dark winter.

But to make sure you have beautiful blooms in spring, you need to get planting now. Bulbs are incredibly easy to grow as they already have everything they need to produce a bloom – all you need to do is plant them and wait for the display.

Choose a mixture of colours and varieties, and plants of different heights and flowering times to create real interest. It is best to group colours and sorts so that one part of your garden is in full bloom, rather than a few single bulbs dotted around. Different plants flower at different times of years, so they need to be planted at the right time of year. Spring flowering plants need to be planted in the autumn so they will have enough time to sprout through the ground.

Luke Chamberlain, horticultural manager at Dobbies Garden World Edinburgh gives his top tips about how to choose the perfect display for your garden. “The choice of spring bulbs is enormous, from tiny snowdrops that appear in February to flamboyant tulips in May. Just choose what you like best, making sure the bulbs are firm. Buy several of the same bulb as a group of identical blooms looks far more impressive than a jumbled mixture. Choose your colours carefully, teaming complementary or contrasting shades.

“Use a trowel or bulb planter to bury your bulbs in the earth – the packet instructions will tell you how deep to plant them. If you’re planting in containers, half fill your pot with compost, space the bulbs evenly and then top up with more compost. Mark where you’ve planted the bulbs with a label (or put pots out of site until the spring) and wait for them to shoot, grow and flower – it’s as simple as that.”

To ensure the best blooms possible, Luke continues his advice with ongoing care instructions: “ Bulbs in pots need more care than those in soil – prior to planting, ensure that they have good drainage so they don’t get soggy feet.

“Keep the compost moist and cover it with a piece of chicken wire to prevent squirrels, mice and voles from digging them out. Remove it when shoots appear.”