Now is the time to start planting spring flowering bulbs for next year, write Todmorden In Bloom volunteers.
Make the most of the remaining warmth as late summer progresses into autumn.
Bulbs are among the easiest flowers to grow and require little maintenance. It is always heartening to see bulb shoots emerging in the New Year before they give us a splash of colour in early springtime.
Easy to grow bulb favourites include deep blue scillas, yellow aconites, crocus of many hues, attractive anemones, elegant daffodils and the many species of tulip. Our local garden centre has a huge selection!
Planting spring bulbs is an ideal project for newcomers to the gardening scene.
You can grow bulbs in containers, in forgotten corners of your garden or naturalised in lawns (to look like drifts of nature as seen along our lovely roadside verges when entering Todmorden in springtime).
Most bulbs need good drainage and some sunshine. Do ensure the pointed bulb tip faces upwards when planting and plant bulbs two to three times their own depth, nor touching each other. Children will enjoy potting up spring flowers too. The miniature daffodils called tête-à-tête would be ideal.
If using indoor containers, bulbs need special fibrous compost with added nutrients.
If using large outdoor containers you can layer bulbs with later larger tulips halfway down the pot, then perhaps some daffodils, then smaller flowers like crocus in shallow earth near the top.
To plant small bulbs in grass use an old fashioned dibber or trowel, and if your soil is heavy put some horticultural sand under each bulb to assist drainage. Flowers make more impact when grouped together. Remember that bulbs growing in grassy areas will prevent early lawn cutting as the foliage will not have died back naturally.
Gardeners always need to plan ahead, cheerfully and hopefully! Once established your bulbs will multiply, giving a great return for your work.
l If you would like to join the Todmorden in Bloom small group helping with our flower displays in the town centre, please phone Norman on 01706 812205 or Jean on 01706 817492.