Plant of the month - September
After the long hot summer all our gardens beginning to look a little tired. September is an ideal time to be thinking ahead to next year and planning which bulbs to plant. A wide selection of spring flowering bulbs have now arrived in store. We stock varieties such as dwarf daffodil Tete A Tete, traditional daffodils such as King Alfred and tulips including Red Riding Hood. However for now let’s take a look at few of the other more unusual bulbs species in our range.
Firstly we have a very special Autumn flowering bulb which flowers before its leaves are even produced, Colchicum the Giant with its Mauve-pink flowers. Suitable for naturalising, it can also be used for creating dollops of colour at the front of the border or in pots. This cultivar is well over 100 years old and is still a very popular choice, being prized for its large, colourful flowers.
Camassia Cusickii one of the many bulbs we see flowering in the Chelsea flower show in Spring each year. This is a handsome plant that can be threaded through the herbaceous border, it also looks wonderful when planted in generous drifts in a meadow-style setting (it originates from prairies in North America). The star-shaped flowers are azure blue, and open from the base of the upright spike in late Spring and early Summer, and if left in the ground it will naturalise easily.
Allium is another Chelsea favourite for their architectural flowers. We have a wide selection of alliums including Christophii. Allium Cristophii produces striking globes of violet, star-shaped flowers in early Summer. Their globe shaped flower remain attractive once dried as well in flower. The long, linear leaves die back before the blooms appear in early Summer. Allium Cristophii is a fantastic choice for sunny borders, and works well when planted in drifts with ornamental grasses and other alliums. It also makes a wonderful cut flower.
Fritaria Imp Lutea Max, this RHS AGM variety produces dramatic crowns of bright yellow, bell-shaped flowers, topped with a whirl of leaf-like bracts. This exotic-looking hardy perennial makes a real statement in borders, where its impressive height is ideal for the back of the border. Plant Fritillaria imperialis 'Maxima Lutea' in groups for a colourful, eye-catching display in late spring. The foxy aroma of the bulbs is also said to deter moles and rodents. Height: 1.5m (5'). Spread: 30cm (12").
Dog toothed violet Erythronium. Each stem on this plant will carry up to 10 nodding, sulphur yellow flowers with a brown central ring and deep yellow anthers. The foliage can be equally showy as it has either bronze-mottled, or fainter white marbling on the deep green, glossy leaves. In early Spring this combination makes a very colourful display in woodlands and meadows.
When planting bulbs it is a good time to also be planting your Autumn bedding, including Pansy and Viola. These look good in the border or as part of a mixed container with a variety of bulbs planted in differing layers. Look out for a blog post later in September on how to plant up a layer bulb container