Every summer at RHS Garden Rosemoor, I place an order for spring-flowering bulbs to be delivered the following autumn. The bulbs I organise are for the area around Lady Anne’s House and the Stone Garden.
I like to use a variety of Crocus , Narcissus and Tulipa planted in their own separate terracotta pots. I try to have a continual sequence of interest throughout the early months by choosing bulbs not only for colour, but also for their flowering time. The pots will be put on display as they come into flower and then removed and replaced once they have finished.
I have a variety of sizes of terracotta pots in which I place crocks in the base of for drainage. I then add a peat-free compost with added slow-release fertiliser. The bulbs are packed in fairly close (50 per pot on average) and dressed with a fine woodchip mulch. The bulbs need to guarantee a good show of flowers each year so are used only once in pots and then either planted in the garden or composted after use.
The Crocus tends to stand to attention first, with one of my favour ites being C. chrysant hus ‘Snow Bunting’ (above) - a tremendous crocus species. This milky-white flower really lightens up a dul l winter’s day.
The dwarf Narcissus cyclamineus ‘Tête-à-Tête’ (right) overlaps this and we enjoy the, often one to three, beautiful deep-gold flower heads that appear on each stem.
Then the Kaufmanniana group of tulips begin to compliment these in a whole host of colours, my favourite being the striking red of T. ‘Showwinner’ taking centre stage every time!
RHS advice on bulbs
RHS advice on planting bulbs