Dig It! Flowering Bulbs (17 June 2019)
As the spring-flowering bulbs start to fade, it's a good time to check out what autumn-flowering bulbs you could use to replace them, for containers or straight in the ground. Anne van der Elst from Geen's Bulbs was at Orticolario last year, and gave us her suggestions for the best autumn-flowering bulbs. Dahlias and begonias are probably the easiest, available now as plants, as we've missed the period when they're available as tubers or corms. You could also try autumn-flowering crocuses, the saffron crocus or their yellow-flowered cousins, the Sternbergia. You could also try Colchicums, which look amazing snuggled into a thick blanket of Stachys byzantina, but best avoided if you have small children or curious pets, they're really toxic. Cyclamens, as Anne said, take their time to get going, but are glorious once established, and are best sited in a shady spot or under a tree. For a sunny terrace, try Nerines, or a new plant, an Amarine, a cross between a nerine and an Amaryllis. The crocuses, the colchicums and the Sternbergia are all fully hardy, so can be left outdoors all winter. The others will need the protection of a frost-free garage or winter garden.