As dry but cool weather brings in our spring the early bulbs are putting on a brilliant display. As most folk are in deep isolation to avoid the coronavirus the bright splash of colour really keeps us in high spirits.
Every autumn I have always splashed out on spring flowering bulbs, as I find it hard to resist and there is always some spot in the garden in need of a bit of extra colour. Over the years these bulbs have formed large drifts, but still I find space for a few more.
We can then look forward to spring to see how the latest bulbs perform. Some start off in tubs amongst wallflowers, pansies and polyanthus, but then once their flowering season ends and the summer bedding takes over, the bulbs while still growing can get replanted in some border.
When the spring flowers are at their best in April and May this is a good time to see how the bulb planting has performed, and make plans for any adjustments next autumn. I have a few drifts of white and yellow tulips really needing a few reds and mauve to balance the drift.
I had a nice mixture of dwarf early tulips amongst my roses, but several have died out and only the yellow survives so need a few other colours in autumn.
Two years ago I bought some narcissus Dick Wilden but the gorgeous double flower is so heavy the stems cannot support then and they break so they will get replaced.
Another area of mixed crocus planted last autumn had white, purple and striped flowers but no yellow crocus. I expected a mixed batch to have yellow as well as all the others so I will buy some yellow crocus to balance out the drift.
A similar purchase of 100 mixed Darwin Hybrid tulips was a bit one sided with 80 of them all white. In future I will buy in separate colours and mix my own.
The show stopper this spring has been tulip Red Emperor flowering in early April, but then in late April the Darwin Hybrids Apeldoorn and Golden Apeldoorn kept the display in top form. The first tulip is always Scarlet Baby flowering in March followed by Stressa in early to mid April. Then
numerous other spring bulbs pop up including the scented hyacinths, grape hyacinths, Chionodoxa and the other blue flowered Anemone blanda. All the while daffodils and narcissi are flowering.
They start off with February Gold which was very late this year coming in early April, then the Golden Harvest, Mount Hood, my favourite white scented white trumpet daffodil. The highly scented Jonquills and Cheerfulness group didn’t flower till near the end of April.
Dundee City Council always puts on a great display of daffodils and crocus along highway grass verges all over the town planted many years ago in times when it was fashionable to spend money on flowers to brighten up the town for residents and visitors.
Dundonians were very proud of their floral achievements in parks, housing estates and highway verges with ample well trained gardeners to look after them.
Unfortunately gardening is no longer looked upon as worthwhile career, so there is no more flowers, the grass grows long but looks natural and weeds are left alone in the back to nature move. Horticulture has become a victim of Council cut backs.
However for some of us, the old traditions are maintained but in our gardens and allotments. The beauty of our displays of spring colour can be seen by those few hardy souls out for a days exercise jogging or dog walking past our gardens and allotments.
Fortunately there was no cut backs at City Road Allotments and our spring display along the entrance border and a few other plots backing onto City Road is looking fantastic.
It was not long before other plot holders appreciated the benefits of floral displays and now many plots are adding flowers in borders, troughs and tubs.
Wee jobs to do this week
Take advantage of warmer days to get a few greenhouse plants hardened off. A few weeks back it was the broad beans, sweet peas and chrysanthemums that were first to get hardened off and now these are all in the ground. Geraniums can now go outdoors as well as early sown salads of lettuce, radish, spring onions and beetroot, but keep checking the weather forecasts in case there is a late frost and crops have to go back indoors over night. Onions grown from seed are also getting hardened off for planting towards the end of April.