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Advice on bulbs


I've never grown bulbs before so I need some advice,  I've got a site that gets a nice amount of sun but is very sheltered and has clay soil,    What are some good bulbs that are good for pollinators and what is the best time to plant said bulbs?   I like the idea of wild garlic but could somebody give me some pointers?    Thank you


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,366

    Hi Chris - do you mean spring flowering bulbs like crocus and daffs etc? 

    I have clay soil here which is fine for things like snowdrops and most daffs but if you dig in some grit and well rotted manure it helps the soil structure, making it ideal for most bulbs. Snowdrops are often better planted in spring 'in the green' rather than as a dry bulb in autumn, but many people have success with them so you might want to try that anyway. Crocus are great for early flowers for pollinators, and you can follow that with daffs and narcissus. The single types are best as the flowers are open and easy for insects to get into.There are also species tulips which flower in late winter/early spring. They're not as awkward as the more fussy later ones and won't mind  clay either. I also use the dwarf Irises - reticulata -which are early flowering, and anemones. They'll all enjoy the aspect you have, and you can follow those up with all kinds of alliums (along with the wild garlic) to take you into summer. There are loads more to choose from image

    It's almost time for bulbs to be in GCs but if you look online at some of the specialists, you'll get a great range and you can pick the colours and heights that will suit you best for the look you want. Hope that gives you a couple of ideas to start with.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532
    Hi Chris I know their not bulbs but hellebores are good for any situation and a pollinaterimage
  • cathy43cathy43 Posts: 373

    What about agapanthus for summer colour, they seem to be happy in my clay soil and shelter would be good especially if you get some of the taller varieties. Also the bees love them image

  • I planted a lot of aliums in my clay soil, they looked fantastic and I'll be putting more in soon. 

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    be careful with wild garlic (and bluebells), it can get a bit invasive


    Yeah daffy etc etc...

      The area that I'll be planting is 'confined' so I'm not bothered if I end up with a carpet of them. I've been looking but I can't really find any good information on wild garlic, will it do fine is full sun? If it does then I'll choose them over other bulbs   - sorry for not replying earlier.
  • In many ways a lot of bulbs grow easier on a clay soil.

    You should be o.k. with daffodils, tulips and crocuses but there's some good more unusual things too. 

    A lot of the lillies will do well.

    I love the ones called "sulky ladies" .... I've gone and forgotten their proper name but I'm sure someone here will know it.

    Wild garlic tends to grow in woodlands in slightly acidic soil   Or at least it does on our farm.  


  • Any ideas on bulbs that will appreciate the sun and will attract bugs? Daffodils would be next on my list 

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