Tips on Growing Flowers from Bulbs

There are many different kinds of bulbs and corms which may be planted during March and April to give a gay display of colour in the summer. Gladioli are perhaps among the most popular for this purpose and the corms may be planted in March, but in Scotland and the North it is as well to wait until April. Choose a site where they will get the maximum amount of sun and where the soil is well drained. They do like plenty of moisture when making rapid growth but they will not tolerate a stagnant soil due to poor drainage. The ground should be well forked over before planting and if the soil is light add peat or leaf soil to help retain the moisture. Bone meal at the rate of about 4 Oz. to the sq. yd. Should be worked into the soil at the same time.

The corms should be planted 4 to 5 in. deep and where the soil is on the heavy side it is a good plan to put some sharp sand below and around the corms when planting.

Do not plant in straight rows -unless you are planting just for cutting – but in groups of half-a-dozen or so of one colour, this ‘ will be much more effective than mixed colours which may flower at odd times. Gladioli being sword-like and erect really need some lower-growing plants around them to look their best and this may be achieved by planting groups towards the front of the herbaceous border.

There are various types of gladioli such as the massive large-flowered varieties, the Butterfly hybrids with waved and ruffled florets and the dainty Primulinus with hooded florets loosely poised on slender stems. Among the outstanding large-flowered varieties are ‘Green Wood-pecker’ (Greenishlemon), ‘Dr. Fleming’ (Salmon pink), ‘Leif Ericson’ (orange yellow, ruffled), ‘Abu Hassan’ (dark blue), ‘Evangeline’ (shell pink) and ‘New Europe’ (orange scar- let).

A near relative to the gladiolus is the Abyssinian Acidanthera murielae which requires the same treatment except that it should not be planted until late Aprilin a sunny sheltered bed. The sweetly fragrant flowers are pure white with a prominent maroon blotch and are borne on graceful stems about 2? ft. high. It may also be grown in pots in a cold greenhouse, planting five corms in a 5 in. pot.

Lilies are not as difficult as some people imagine and they may still be planted until about the end of March. One of the easiest is the elegant Lilium regale which has proved such a good garden plant since it was introduced from China about 50 years ago. The trumpet-shaped flowers are pure white within and have a pale gold throat. The exterior is suffused rosy purple and the fragrance is delightful. This is a stem-rooting lily and should therefore be planted about 5 to 6 in. deep and top-dressed each spring with leaf soil. It grows to a height of 4 to 5 ft. and once planted should be left undisturbed.

The tiger lily, Lilium tigrinum splendens, is one of the oldest lilies in cultivation. It has large deep orange flowers on 4 ft. stems in August and September. These richly coloured Turk’s cap flowers are heavily spotted with black; bulbs should be planted about 5 inches deep. The spectacular golden-rayed lily of Japan, Lilium auratum, with its really splendid flowers on stems 6 ft. or more in height never fail to be admired. The individual flowers, measuring up to 12 in. across, are fragrant, pure white, streaked with gold and crimson spotted. It likes a well-drained soil in which it should be planted about 5 in. deep and top-dressed annually. This lily is frequently grown in pots in a cool greenhouse, where its striking flowers may be seen in all their glory. This and Lilium regale are most effective when planted in a deep tub or other container and stood on a terrace, balcony or roof garden.

The wand flower, Dierama pulcherrima (sometimes listed in catalogues as Sparaxis pulcherrima), with its arching, slender stems 5 ft. or so in length with pendulous, bell-shaped pink or mauve flowers in August and September, is something to be remembered gratefully and for ever. It may be planted, in

March, although some gardeners prefer autumn planting. This South African plant likes a sunny position and a well-drained soil. It is not really suitable for cold districts, but flourishes in the West Country.

Another South African plant rejoicing in the name of Lapei-rousia cruenta (often listed in catalogues under Anomatheca cruenta), has carmine crimson little star-like flowers in August and September on stems about 8 in. high. It is decorative when planted in a sunny pocket on the rock garden or when grown in pots in a cold greenhouse. Plant in the open in late April about 2 in. deep, or in pots in March.

The free-flowering anemones of the St. Brigid and De Caen types are easy to grow in a well-drained soil and a sunny position. They are best planted about 3 in. deep, the little tuberous roots being put in the soil edgeways. They are obtainable in dazzling mixed shades of scarlet, rose, purple, lavender and pure white. The giant-flowered ranunculus also make a brilliant display and may be planted to give a succession of flowers by putting them in at intervals until the end of May. The claw-like roots are planted 2 in. deep and about 6 in. apart. They like the same conditions as anemones.

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