Planting Bulbs in Grass

Planting Bulbs in Grass


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


Spring may seem a long time off but now is the right time to plant bulbs. You can leave planting tulips till November but small bulbs such as crocus, scillas and miniature daffodils should be planted as soon as possible and these are the perfect bulbs for naturalising in grass.

Selecting the right bulbs is very important. Unless you want your lawn to look scruffy into June and beyond you should choose early-flowering bulbs. You must allow the leaves to develop at least six weeks after the flowers fade before you mow. For this reason it is best to plant the bulbs in drifts rather than scatter them all over the lawn – it looks better too!

You can buy ‘naturalising mixtures’ but I would avoid these random mixes and plant one or two varieties together for the best effect. Miniature and dwarf kinds look best in small areas. I would avoid heavy-headed doubles and very fancy kinds which, though lovely, look wrong in a natural setting – a bit like going to see Yorkshire Terriers in a safari park!

When it comes to choosing your daffodils you can’t go wrong with the vigorous but petit (and affordable) ‘Tête-à-tête’ but the pale ‘Elka’, slightly taller ‘Surfside’ and bright ‘Jetfire’ are also hard to beat. The hoop petticoat daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium) is hardy and rather special whether you go for the traditional yellow such as ‘Golden Bells’ or the creamy white ‘Spoirot’. You can plant them with a bulb planter, taking out cores of turf or, for these smaller bulbs, lift patches of turf and peel them back. This is the perfect way to mix in some crocus and scillas too. Small daffodils and crocus can be spaced about 5-8cm apart and about 5cm deep. A sunny site is best for most daffodils but slight shade is OK too.  Just replace the turf and away you go.

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