It’s Bulb Time!

Sicilian Honey Garlic

Dear Readers, I can’t believe that it’s autumn already, but at the weekend I spent a couple of hours planting out some bulbs. This year I was a little more sensible than I’ve been in previous years, and have tried not to over do it, but let’s see how that works out. First up is some Sicilian Honey Garlic, actually a kind of Allium, which I fell in love with a few years ago. I’ve planted one pot with just this plant, and in another I’ve tried a ‘bulb lasagne’ – a layer of deep-planted Sicilian Honey Garlic, which flowers in May/June, and some early flowering grape hyacinths, which should be March/April flowering. Let’s see how all of that works out! My success with bulbs is very hit and miss, so do let me know what’s worked for you, especially if your bulbs are in pots, as most of mine are. I’m sure I should be feeding the poor things at some point, though I do always top dress them.

I’ve had various grape hyacinths over the years, but this time I’ve gone for just two – the absolutely standard blue grape hyacinth, and a two-tone one which I think might be Muscari pseudomuscari (which is a bit of a mouthful). Let’s see how I get on! I often find that you can’t beat the original varieties of some of these plants.

Muscari pseudomuscari or Pseudomuscari azureum, I’ve lost track ๐Ÿ™‚ Photo by By Meneerke bloem – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

And then, in spite of many years of having the squirrels eat every one that they can find, I am growing some crocuses. Last year I bought some in pots, intending to pop them into my windowboxes but the squirrels got there overnight.

And they often dig them out of the pots at their leisure. They don’t like Alliums ( I guess it’s the garlic/oniony taste) and they don’t like daffodils (or at least in my experience) but they do seem to like nearly everything else. We planted some squill last year and when I got up the following morning, the bed looked like a miniature version of the trenches of Verdun. But I have topped the pots this year with a thin layer of gravel, in the desperation borne of hope.

Anyhow, we have some ‘Tommies’ (Crocus tommasianus) and some slightly later Dutch crocuses (Crocus vernus).

Crocus tommasinianus

Crocus vernus

And in my magpie-like search for novelty, I have also planted some bulbs that profess to be bright orange crocuses. Goodness! My whole front garden is themed around blue, purple and dark pink, and now I’ve stuck in something orange. So much for discipline.

Anyhow, lovelies, tell me what you’re planning for your garden/pot/windowbox, if you’re lucky enough to have any such thing, or if you’ve seen anything unusual in the garden centre/park/municipal planting lately. I love that a few hours work now can reap such pleasure in the spring. Of course, I’m largely obsessed with finding something for the bees to feed on, hence all the pollinator-friendly bulbs, and the lack of tulips and daffs which I find are not usually that interesting to the critters, but do tell me if I’m wrong, and you’ve found some that the bees love! Now that I’m retired I have no excuse not to make the garden the most splendid human and wildlife sanctuary that I can imagine. Onwards!

‘Ordinary’ grape hyacinths and windflowers from last year.


4 thoughts on “It’s Bulb Time!

  1. Anonymous

    I have the same squirrel problem but now I have 2 defences. Over the years I’ve collected old BBQ grids which I lay over the top of pots – a bit unsightly but very effective. For window boxes I’ve cut lengths of plastic nestting to fit, weighed down with a couple of large stones (usually picked up from a walk for their shape and colour) . I read that rosemary prunings stuck in the soil disguise the smell of the bulbs, so I poke those into the soil as well. Sometimes in the spring I have the added bonus of small rooted rosemary plants. Good luck.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      That all sounds very sensible – I wonder if lavender would also deter the squirrels, I have plenty of that :-). So far the gravel seems to be working, but let’s see how we go, and good luck with your bulbs!

  2. Anonymous

    Tulipa turkestanica is a favourite and unlike many tulips seems popular with pollinators- I think you may have mentioned it ?
    Good luck baffling the squirrels ๐Ÿ˜


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