Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Summer Bulbs

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Summer Bulbs

We welcome our resident gardening guru Geoff Stebbings from www.thebikinggardener.com with his weekly tip for what we should be doing in our garden this week.

This week Geoff is talking Summer Bulbs

You can’t beat summer bulbs for a dazzling display.

Slim spires of gladioli, long-flowering dahlias and fragrant lilies all make summer special. Apart from lilies, most summer bulbs are not reliably hardy so there is no rush to get them in the ground in spring.

The shoots of dahlias will get damaged if frosted so if you buy and plant tubers now, with the top of the roots 10cm below the surface, they will not have emerged until late May when the last frost should have passed. If you buy potted, growing plants then they will need to be protected from frost – it is too early to plant out frost-tender bedding plants in most parts of the country.

Dahlias can also be grown from seed and these also form tubers that can be kept from one year to the next.

Although a little late, you could sow dwarf dahlias from seed now and they will flower this year.

Dahlias prefer a sunny spot and a rich soil with lots of water and feed. The smaller kinds can be grown in patio pots.

Although dahlias produce a succession of flowers right up till the first frost of autumn, gladioli corms generally produce a single fan of leaves and one spike of flowers. They grow best in a sunny spot in any garden soil and the corms should be planted about 10cm deep. They can be planted from March to May and if you want a longer display of flowers, plant some now and some in mid May for a later flush of flowers.

Lilies can be planted from October to April and their fleshy bulbs should be planted as soon as possible. Easy to grow and adaptable to most soils, they prefer a rich soil that is neither waterlogged or bone dry and with a little shade from the hottest sun. Plant the bulbs 10-15cm deep in the soil or you can grow them in pots on the patio too. The fragrant Oriental lilies must have an acid compost or they will dwindle away after a year.

You can find Geoff at his daily talks at the Allianz Garden Show Ireland this year which takes place at Antrim Castle Gardens from 5th – 7th May.


Catch up on Geoff’s other tips from this series:

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Hellebores

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Pruning

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Seed Sowing

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Magnolias

Gardening Guru Tip of the Week – Growing Your Own Vegetables

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