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Bulbs - summer to spring

JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
Hi all,

My daffodils and tulips are looking lovely, but how do I plant the summer bulbs now that will replace them when they’re spent?

Or are you supposed to plant summer bulbs in a different place and leave the spring bulbs until it’s time to lift them?

As I understand it the dads will last a while longer, then you dead head them, leave them in place for six weeks and then lift them.  But the summer bulbs I have need to go in now.




  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,008
    I never lift bulbs.  If they're too tender to survive winter outside or need better drainage than they'd get in the borders they grow in pots which can be moved to shelter from the cold.  Daffs and tulips and hyacinths get dead-headed then fed and left to die back naturally.  Perennials will be coming through by then and disguise the bulb foliage.   Smaller bulbs like crocuses and scillas just get fed and left.   Too fiddly to dead head.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,143
    Why would you want to lift spring bulbs anyway unless you're completely redesigning the border ?
    Whilst they are visible , simply plant in between them . Just avoid cutting into any still dormant perennial plants which may be there .
    As with Obelixx , my spring bulbs are just dead-headed to prevent needless seed production , and the many perennials then gracefully disguise fading bulb foliage as they grow .
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    Oh right then. I thought the whole point was to replace bulbs throughout the year to maintain colour, but your saying just mix them all up in the bed and let them get on with it.

    Im sure I’d read that summer bulbs need lifting somewhere.
  • lilysillylilysilly Posts: 511
    Hi Tinpot, what varieties of summer flowering bulbs have you bought and want to plant out now? Some summer bulbs are traditionally lifted and stored in the autumn like gladioli and calla lily. Also dahlia but they are tubers. These would often rot off else in our long cold wet winters. I grow all my lily bulbs in large pots to make it easier to feed and replenish the compost each spring. Also it's easier to check for and remove the dratted lily beetle when you can sit on the patio with the pot on the floor or up on a table in front of you. These pots l then dot through my borders at flowering time. I put the pots on a couple of old house bricks or a bit of broken slab to help them drain. Dahlia l start off in pots and then plant into borders because they need good rich soil and moisture to flower well. I lift those after they are frosted else in my soil they can rot or be ruined by slugs. 
    I grow tulips in pots and dot those pots around the borders for a pop of colour. Mini daffodils and allium l plant deep and leave alone , they do get a good feed and dead headed. 
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    Thanks @lilysilly

    Dahlias I planted and lifted last year so I think I’m okay with them.

    Ive just this morning put 18 anemones in beside the existing daffs and tulips, and covered with a wood chip mulch.

    Yesterday I put iris and tritelia In aside poppy seeds into my new bed.

    Ive got a lot of gladioli and the rest of a summer bulb pack that includes three lillies, two more dahlias.

    The plan is to plant the dahlias around some anemones and violas.

    In my front garden with cotoneaster and laurel backdrop, the lilium, gladioli in bunches, and sow nasturtium at the front.  There are already patches of daffs and tulips here too.

    I should have a few more beds to put in where it’ll just be annuals and summer bulbs; nasturtium and gladioli, California poppy and gladioli. These are nearer the back of the garden so get less viewing in spring, and I’m thinking the height of the gladioli will be an advantage.

    Later in the year I’ll be thinking of autumn/winter flowering bulbs.  

    Ive just bought a Bulb Expert book, but it doesn’t speak much about planting patterns.
  • lilysillylilysilly Posts: 511
    That should give you plenty of colour later on Tinpot and look lovely. I've not had much luck with anemone in the past, l plant them in a little clump and am lucky if l get one flower. I don't think they like my Devon clay. Dutch iris come back year after year. I tend to squeeze alliums in around my roses and perennials, they come back reliably. I haven't grown gladioli for a long time though l like them as cut flowers and don't really have space for them anymore. Annuals are great for colour sown all together. Are you going to think about adding perennials too at sometime? Some like hardy geraniums and astrantia will flower for months.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 7,079
    They're not to everyone's taste, I know - a bit blowsy - but I use oriental poppies to hide the spring bulb foliage as it dies back. They bulk up just at the right time to take over from tulips. And the rabbits/slugs don't seem to eat them. I have camassia and siberian iris as well - they also seem to cope with Devon clay, LS. 
    Gardening on the edge of Exmoor, in Devon

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • lilysillylilysilly Posts: 511
    I've got a couple oriental poppies Raisingirl, a big deep orange one whoose name l forget and Harlem which is gorgeous. I've also got some Siberian iris, Flight of Butterflies and Ruffled Velvet. There's no sign of Ruffled Velvet shooting yet though. Are yours showing signs of life yet Raisingirl? I hope l haven't lost them over winter. I'm another camassias fan, l added  another 6 blue and 3 white last autumn because they were so lovely.
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    In true internet fashion, thanks for all the advice but I’m going to ignore it :) ...and lift my daffs now, tulips soon, and move to the back of the garden where they can continue to photo synthesise out of the way.
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