A variety of useful articles and tips for gardeners of all abilities.
Flowers and Ornamentals
A bulb comes ready-equipped with the promise of a flower. In its previous growing season the bulb did all the work of flower formation, and the embryo flower is now safely stored within the bulb. It’s just waiting for the right moisture and temperature triggers to start growing.
You can usually find spring bulbs at the shops in late summer. Buying bulbs early gives you the best selection, but it’s wise not to plant until the soil’s cooler. Store bulbs in a cool, dry place and, while you’re waiting to plant, prepare a well-drained spot by digging in some Dynamic Lifter pellets and good compost.
Buy tulips early but, remember, with tulips it’s especially important not to plant them too quickly. In warm climates you can wait until late autumn or even early winter. And, for warmer areas, choose varieties with care. Monet tulips, for example, are hardy, tall-growing varieties that come in a wide range of colours. Otherwise, look for tulips that bloom early in the season, when there’s less risk from unseasonal hot spells. And, unless you have cold winters, don’t expect your tulips to re-bloom next year. Treat them as annuals.
Freesias flourish in most parts of Australia and their South African origins make them well suited to our warm climate. Good drainage is their number one requirement.
The most popular freesia variety is the traditional creamy-white with the delicious fragrance. These do so well that they can become a roadside weed so remember to remove the flower heads as soon as they’ve finished.
If you’d like more colour in your freesia display, then white, pink, mauve, blue or yellow-flowered varieties are available, some with double blooms (pictured).
Jonquils have fat, promising bulbs and tough constitutions. These bulbs great survivors can be left in the one spot to come up year after year. Soleil D’Or jonquil, which blooms in shades of yellow and gold, creates a daffodil effect, but has the hardiness and reliability of a jonquil. Paperwhites – which have, as you would guess, pure white flowers – are early-flowering. Erlicheer jonquil produces double cream flowers with a strong fragrance.
In many areas freesias, jonquils, snowflakes and bluebells can be left in the ground from one year to the next, but good feeding’s the secret to ongoing success. Water the growing bulb regularly with soluble Thrive Flower & Fruit.
Continue feeding this way every one or two weeks, even after flowering, until the leaves have died down completely.