Don’t miss the chance to plant spring flowering bulbs!

Don’t miss the opportunity to plant spring flowering bulbs

Pieter and Ben, from Dutch Grown, have very kindly sent me a range of their bulbs to try out.

When these bulbs arrived, all of my containers were already allocated to specific trials, so I am incredibly grateful to my wonderful friends, Terry and Nicky, who were absolute superstars and saved the day by lending me a number of their pots.  Thank you both so much!

These Narcissus ‘Art Design’ bulbs were given to me by Dutch Grown.

Reuse plastic containers

If you’ve got one (or one hundred!) too many plastic pots, I can assure you that there will always be a gardener in need of more containers!  Why not offer your spare containers to your local friends and neighbours?  Post the details of the pots you have available in local Freecycle groups, (or on Facebook) and when you’ve found someone to pass the containers onto and finalised your arrangements, simply leave your planters outside, for safe, contact-free collection.  Ideally, arrange collection at a time that ties in with when your neighbours (or local friends) will be passing your home, so they can avoid making any unnecessary journeys.

These Narcissus ‘Pink Wonder’ bulbs were given to me by Dutch Grown.

Recycling containers

A number of plastic garden planters can now be recycled, which is great, but please use recycling as an absolute last resort and use all the containers you have, as many times as possible before you even consider resigning any of your pots to the recycling bin.

Why does it matter how many times the pots are used before they’re recycled?  Recycling uses energy and resources; making the pots into something new requires even more energy.  Meanwhile, gardeners who want more pots, tend to buy more containers, which increases the amount of plastic we have in existence.  However, many gardeners already have sheds full of plastic containers that aren’t being used.  If we exchanged the goods we no longer needed, we could all save precious energy and money, and make the world a better place.

These Narcissus ‘Bright Jewel’ bulbs were given to me by Dutch Grown.

Peat-free compost for bulbs

A pot of daffodils would make a wonderful Christmas gift.  I think that a planter of bulbs is a lovely way to say thank you or to bring cheer to your friends and neighbours.  Another alternative is to plant a winter flowering shrub, if you’re interested in doing this – here’s a link with tips and ideas.

This autumn, I’ve planted my spring flowering bulbs in pots of Dalefoot Bulb Compost, Melcourt SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium and Happy Compost All Purpose Compost.

Robin Mounsey, Pauline Lewington, and Simon Bland from Dalefoot Compost, pictured at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

If you’re interested in Dalefoot Composts, you’ll find every article I’ve written about these composts, by clicking here.

Melcourt SylvaGrow Sustainable Growing Medium.

If you’re interested in Melcourt SylvaGrow® Sustainable Growing Medium, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Happy All Purpose Compost.

If you’re interested in Happy Compost All Purpose Compost, you’ll find every article I’ve written that mentions this compost here.

Plant your spring flowering bulbs now!

If you’ve got any crocus, daffodil, allium, and other spring flowering bulbs languishing in your shed, don’t forget to plant them!  At this time of year, I am often asked if it is too late to plant bulbs, or whether it would be better for gardeners to keep hold of their bulb stash, so they’ll be ready to plant their bulbs at the optimum planting time, next autumn.

The short answer is: no!  Bulbs do not keep – if a bulb isn’t planted it eventually dries out and desiccates, or rots or decomposes – you really do need to plant your bulbs as soon as possible. 

We’ve been busy planting a variety of spring flowering bulbs from Dutch Grown. These tulip bulbs are planted in Dalefoot Bulb Compost.On the whole, it’s better to plant your bulbs as soon as you can.  However, there are exceptions – it’s better to wait until late November or December before you even consider planting tulips; as these bulbs are prone to a fungal disease, called ‘Tulip Fire’.  Tulip Fire has a disastrous effect on tulips, causing them to wither and distort as they grow and develop into weakened shadows of their former selves.

If your tulips are suffering with Tulip Fire – bin or burn them and dispose of the compost in your planter (and wash up your pots), as there’s no cure for this disease.  If you’re thinking of planting tulips, note that tulip bulbs that are planted later in the year, (in colder weather) are less susceptible to this fungal disease.

Daffodils and other bulbs are not affected by Tulip Fire and can be planted from July or August, onwards.

Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers

Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers are made from bamboo. These biodegradable plant labels are a sustainable alternative to plastic.

Haxnicks kindly sent me some of their new Bamboo Plant Markers to try out.  These plant labels are made from bamboo pulp mixed with a resin formulated from rice; the result is a sustainable and biodegradable plant label that can be composted after a few years of use.  These are really sturdy and substantial plant labels, they feel like a cross between plastic and porcelain.

Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers have an attractive shape.  These labels look nice in the garden but they’re also very useful, as there’s plenty of room to write your plant’s name, as well as any other details you’d like to remember or record.  If someone special has given you a plant or you know where you eventually want to position your plant (and don’t want to forget), you may want to note down these details on the label.

When I tested out writing on Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers with pencil, I found that my penciled writing appeared only very faintly on the label.  This was probably because the pencil I used was too hard, as the lead made only a reasonable outline on paper.  A softer pencil would have doubtless been more effective, but, although I’m certain that a darker pencil with a softer lead would write effectively on these labels and would leave a clearly written plant name; I didn’t have any other pencils to hand to be able to test this theory.

These Tulip clusiana bulbs (from Dutch Grown) were planted in Dalefoot Bulb Compost.

When I used a permanent label marker with a soft tip, I found that my pen simply glided over these smooth bamboo plant labels.  I think these are possibly the smoothest labels I’ve ever written on!  They’re also a nice colour tone, being neither too bright or too dark, and they’re handsomely formed, too.

I tested these bamboo plant labels and found that I was able to wipe off my writing, while the ink was still wet.  Once the ink had dried it didn’t wipe off, but this is early days – I let you know if I can still determine what is planted in each pot, in a few months’ time.

These Narcissus ‘Pink Wonder’ bulbs (from Dutch Grown) were planted in Melcourt SylvaGrow Sustainable Growing Medium.

How long do Haxnicks bamboo labels last for?  Haxnicks estimate that their Bamboo Plant Markers will last for three to five years.  Having only used Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers for this first time this weekend I can’t vouch for this with any certainty, but I will let you know how long my labels last, in my future updates (see all articles that mention Haxnicks Bamboo Plant Markers, by clicking here).

See my next update on these spring and summer flowering bulbs, see photographs of my colourful plants in flower and discover how well these plant labels are working for me – here.

To see my next update and discover how well the Alliums I planted grew, please click here.

Other articles that may interest you………….

For gardening advice for mid November to mid December, please click here.

For more gardening advice for December, please click here.

For a step-by-step guide on how to plant a terrarium or bottle garden, please click here.

For houseplant ideas and information, please click here.

To read about the top performing daffodils from my first Daffodil Trial, please click here.

To read about the top performing daffodils from my second Daffodil Trial, please click here.

Other articles you might like:

One thought on “Don’t miss the chance to plant spring flowering bulbs!

  1. LisaG

    December 8, 2020 at 7:22pm

    Thank you for the reminder that there are three “R”s: reduced, reuse, then recycle, which is the last resort. So many concentrate on recycle when the first two are arguably more important. Even when I give plants/ seedlings away I say that if you don’t want the pot, give it back and you can get another plant! So many people throw them in the recycling when they are still in good nick.

    Keep us informed about the labels – always good to have another option. I still have many of the white plastic ones that are in constant rotation – I use a softer pencil and a black eraser (important for garden use!). But I like the larger ones for more permanent plant labels, I am still using some larger black plastic ones with a Posca pen (white). A scrub or, if set by sunlight, white spirit and they ready to go again. But other options are welcome, if as long lasting. It is a tough life in the garden!

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      December 9, 2020 at 2:04pm

      Hello Lisa,

      It’s wonderful to hear that you’re focused on re-using things too. Like you, I also have lots of white plastic labels – some are 20 years old and they’re still going strong. I use metal labels for most of my orchids. Each year, I buy wooden plant labels for outdoor Trials – these wooden labels don’t even last a season – they degrade so quickly once they’re in the soil. It’s great that they are so degradable, but they don’t last the season.

      The Haxnicks Bamboo labels seem very sturdy – I’ll definitely let you know how lasting they are. Thanks so much for your lovely, helpful comments.

      Best wishes

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