Even though autumn has just started it is already time to start thinking about next year and in particular it is time to start thinking about Spring flowering bulbs. Over the next few weeks I will be looking at all the options gardeners have to inject a splash of colour to their gardens after the bleak winter months.
One of the most popular spring flowering bulbs in Irish gardens has to be daffodils. For many gardeners they are one of the most iconic flowers for spring and I have to admit I have a soft spot for them myself and have a good collection in my own garden.
At the moment in CountryLife we have a great range of Irish grown daffodil bulbs on sale from West Cork Daffodils. I first started to use them about two years ago when we trialled them in the garden centre and customers were very happy with them.
For many it was the fact that they were a bulb which was fully grown in Ireland and people loved the fact that they were supporting an Irish company. Commonly a lot of spring bulbs would originate in the Netherlands and to have a truly Irish collection of bulbs is a great thing for gardeners. Other gardeners loved that they are Irish bulbs because this means they are perfectly acclimatised to the Irish climate and so people find they perform much better in their gardens.
Daffodils are a much more diverse flower type than people assume and there is a wide range of varieties available. They are not all just pure yellow trumpet shaped flowers, you can get a lot of variation in terms of colour and even flower shape.
A particularly interesting daffodil from West Cork Daffodils is one called Apotheose. This variety is a double daffodil with a fantastic ruffled blossom. It will grow to around 40cm and will flower between March and April so is a good late flowering variety.
Tamara is a variety which looks just like the traditional daffodil except the flower is smaller and it does not grow as tall so this would make a great variety for someone in a very exposed garden. Because the flower is more compact it tends to stand up to a little more wind than other types.
Scarlet O’Hara is a beautiful yellow and orange flowering daffodil. The outer petals are a primrose yellow colour and as you move into the centre trumpet part of the flower it changes to a deep rich orange which makes for a great contrast.
When it comes to planting daffodils there is one golden rule that I go by and that is to plant them before the end of September. Planting them by the end of September means that the soil is still somewhat warm and moist which will mean the bulb will grow roots and establish before winter sets in. You can plant them up until December but I find they perform better when they have been given that extra few weeks in the ground before the frost arrives.
Daffodils like a rich, free draining soil and full sun. As a rule of thumb you want to plant them at a depth which is double the size of the bulb. Planting at this depth also gives you a stronger more sturdy flower which is less likely to be disturbed by wind.