Bulbs For The Summer Garden

Summer flowering bulbs are also suitable for more or less formal bedding schemes. The gladiolus is one of the most useful of bulbs for this purpose.

Gladioli are planted from February onwards. If some are planted every three weeks, there will be a continuous supply of flowers for cutting over several months. About mid-May the last batch should be set in the ground, and these will flower in fate autumn.

Gladioli and other summer bulbs are planted in exactly the same way as spring bulbs, and like them can be used formally or informally. Some of the summer bulbs are quite hardy and can remain in the ground for many years; others are only hardy enough to remain in the open in the warmer parts of the country.

Summer Flowering Bulbs

Soil conditions make all the difference in this respect, and a garden on naturally sandy soil is always warmer than one on clay. Lilies, for instance, can be grown quite well for many years without being moved, and will gain in beauty as the years pass, if the soil is sandy and leafy, as where a woodland exists on a sandy hill-side. But if grown in heavy loam, they will only do well if lifted at the end of each summer, stored in dry sand, and replanted in early spring.

Whenever a doubt exists about the hardiness of the summer bulbs, they can be lifted as the foliage turns colour, and hung in bunches in a shed until they are dry. Then the bulbs (or corms) should be rubbed clean, carefully inspected in case any disease is present, and finally stored in boxes of dry sand. Sawdust and cork chippings are other materials good for bulb storage.

ALWAYS DESTROY DISEASED BULBS

Diseases affect most plants, and a diseased tuber of any kind should never be either stored or replanted, since the spores of the disease will quickly travel to others. The safest way in a little garden is to burn all diseased specimens, and buy fresh ones. Some diseases can be controlled, but I doubt if it ever pays the small garden owner to fight diseases among bulbs that are reasonably cheap to buy.

A question often asked is whether bulbs can be raised from seed. Obviously they can, since seed is the natural method of increase; or perhaps one should say it is one natural method, for bulbs would also increase by division, in their natural state. With most bulbs, however, the waiting period is rather considerable, and it is not worth while for the amateur gardener to sow seeds and wait for several years before raising a first bloom. New varieties are, of course, raised from seed; and those who like to experiment can do so with some prospect of success.

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