Spring flowering bulbs brighten the garden from when snow is on the ground right through to the sunlit early summer. Here is David Hall's guide to achieving a marvellous display of colour to herald in the new year.
There's always enough time to plant summer flowering bulbs to create a superb show of dramatic colour. Here is a selection of Nathan James Dodd's favourites among the many that are available from your Garden Centre.
Bulbs, corms and tubers can be planted in most kinds of soil, and that includes flower beds and planters, all that's required is good drainage so that they don't rot. If you have heavy soil, introduce grit to lessen the chances of waterlogging.
There are various planting depths, but generally this is twice or three times as deep as the bulb's size with their tip pointing up. After flowering apply some potash or liquid feed if they are in containers, and allow the foliage to die down naturally.
Fiery red and orange flowers, and slim sharp foliage are the trademarks of these easy to grow and fast to multiply bulbs. They look great when adding vibrancy to any location.
This lily has the most flamboyant flowers that are large crimson, pink, yellow and white bursting stars. Many are scented and they make perfect cut flowers.
Why these are judged by some to be old fashioned is beyond me. Marvellous as a cut flower, a multitude of lovely blooms line the flower spikes. Mulch for protection over the winter.
When planting begonias the top of the corm should be level with the soil/compost surface. Excellent for window boxes, containers and hanging baskets, they will flower fragrantly well into the late summer/early autumn when the tubers should be lifted and stored.
These are very useful flowers for both a bed or container, and can tolerate dry weather. There are many different forms and colours, and they are easy to grow in full sun. Tubers should be lifted and stored in the autumn.
Boasting magnificent colour, cannas also have terrifically lush foliage. Plant rhizones in a warm environment during April with any shoots exposed, they are quite easy to grow in sunny or half shded positions and make tremendous container plants.
Nathan James Dodd
With gardens becoming smaller, neighbours closer and roads busier, we all suffer from different types of noise pollution. But, as Andy Taylor reports, Forest have now come up with a new kind of fencing that minimizes this nuisance.
Although gardening activity in February may not be so frenetic as during the summer months, there's still plenty to be done and Spring is just around the corner. Nathan James Dodd suggests the jobs you should be tackling in the garden this month.
Dan Everton helps you look after your pond during the February with some tips on the precautions you can take to avoid the water freezing over, and advice on keeping fish at this time of the year.
Heating will be a deciding factor on the variety of plants you are able to grow in a greenhouse and the number of plants that can be kept over winter. Here, Robert Hall goes through the pros and cons of the different types of heating that are available.