sixth March 2016Timely AdviceStephanie Donaldson

There’s extra to your spring backyard than daffodils, crocuses and tulips. But so embedded are these stunning flowering bulbs in our gardening psyche that it’soften onerous to see past them – which is a superb disgrace. Presently of 12 months, backyard centres and nurseries are groaning with conventional spring flowering bulbs but additionally some way more thrilling and arguably classier late spring and summer time bloomers. Let’s have a look round and let’s get planting.


For late spring and early summer time curiosity, you possibly can’t do higher than alliums. Their widespread title is ‘flowering onion’ however this inelegant moniker hardly does them justice. The flowers develop on leafless stalks, so it’s good to plant them amongst different perennials which can disguise the scrappy decrease leaves, and a well-drained soil in full solar is basically all that you just want for achievement.

The summer time flowering A.’Purple Sensation’ has emerged as one of many favourites in recent times. Rising to a few metre excessive it has spherical heads of star-shaped, deep violet flowers, however in an effort to cease paler seedlings showing in subsequent years you need to lower down the outdated flower heads earlier than the seeds ripen.

A.’Globemaster’ is just a little shorter however, because the title suggests, the flower heads are fairly one thing to put in writing residence about, reaching nearly 20cm throughout.

For some actual peak behind the border, A.giganteum will develop as much as your chin in June, by which period the fantastic blue gray leaves have died down.

On the different finish of the size is A.sphaerocephalon, the excitingly named spherical headed leak. Look out for the small insignificant bulbs and plant them now in a gritty soil going through the solar. The diminutive rounded flower heads are a purpley pink and look excellent in July and August, bobbing round between knee and waist peak amongst the silvery inexperienced grass Carex ‘Frosted Curls’ or it’s bronze leaved cousin C.buchananii.

Nectaroscordumsiculum ‘Bulgaricus’ all the time was once thought of an Allium and if you happen to crush a number of leaves the odor will let you realize why. The stalks carry drooping, bell-shaped flowers with a inexperienced and purple tinge, however because the seedheads ripen they attain skywards to make pointed clusters that seem like a clump of toadstools. Very stylish!

Foxtail Lilies

The foxtail lily, Eremurusrobustus, is definitely a tuberous root like a Dahlia. In late Could and June it sends out a sublime, stately raceme of pink flowers on a stalk almost three metres tall. I’ve grown this plant since seeing the sulphur yellow flowers of E.spectabilis rising wild on a rocky slope in Turkey, however they appear to do finest right here in a sandy fertile soil with sharp drainage.There’s additionally a fairly sleek white model, E.himalaicus.

All will profit from a sheltered spot and mulch in autumn and, as an added bonus, will do fairly nicely in alkaline soils.


A few of the extra attention-grabbing bulbs are tougher to search out and it’s good to search in among the bulb catalogues. Asphodels will be planted in March or October, and one in every of their main belongings is the power to do nicely in pretty poor soils.

The spring flowering yellow Apshodel, A.lutea, appears to do OK in well-drained or barely damp soil the place it sends out its spikes of star formed flowers.

Big Lily

One summer time flowering bulb which has all the time eluded me is the large lily Cardiocrinumgiganteum. This uber lily has splendidly aromatic white flowers on stems 2 to 2.7 metres excessive, and it’s actually superior. On the draw back, it takes a few years to flower from a bulb and double that from offsets.

I’ve twice planted it in sheltered corners of my backyard in deep soil laden with leaf mould and compost however I preserve transferring home earlier than something seems above the shiny inexperienced leaves. My current backyard is every little thing this lily hates: chalky, dry, solar baked soil, so maybe I ought to admit defeat gracefully.

Should Plant

In case you solely plant one factor this spring, check out Arum italicum subsp.italicum ‘Marmoratum’, also referred to as Lords and Women.


Vegetation will be purchased in leaf from nurseries in autumn. Alternatively, you possibly can divide the clumps and tubers and replant 15cm deep.

The place?     

Develop in a humus wealthy soil in a sheltered website.


Rising from a tuber, this perennial bears pale greenish white flower spathes in early summer time if grown in full solar. Orange-red berries seem in autumn adopted by arrow formed, silvery veined leaves that final till spring.The leaves are greater and higher if grown in shade.

Historical past     

The foundation of the native plant, A. maculatum, will be cooked and eaten and is the supply of arrowroot. The title ‘Lords and Women’ is considered a well mannered title launched by the prudish Victorians to exchange Cuckoo Pint and varied different names which have been apparently fairly impolite.


A. creticum has creamy white or deep yellow flower spathes and plain unmarked leaves.


Stillingfleet Lodge Nurseries, Yorkshire, 01904 728506

Article offered by impartial content material author and rookie gardener Mike James, working along with good friend and multi award profitable panorama gardener

Andy Sturgeon, who offered the data on this piece.



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