As the garden goes into hibernation for winter, our attention turns to the forthcoming spring, for it is bulb planting season.
By Scott J Millin
Late autumn, early winter, and it is time to welcome a transition in the gardening year. As the final remnants of summer plants fade, it is a time to reflect, cut back and tidy up. Many gardens can look bare at this time of year; however, with some careful planning and good use of structural, evergreen planting, the winter garden can still make you smile. Pictured here is my winter garden to give you some inspiration as to what you can achieve.
It is an exciting time of year, as it is also time to plan for spring, which means it is spring bulb planting season. Bulbs hold so much promise of what is to come and instil a silent but tangible excitement in the air. This year I have decided to plant some spring bulbs around the pond. I wanted something to fill the gap before the purple loosestrife returns. The thing is, I did not want to have to dig lots of holes or disturb the recently cut back perennials to plant bulbs; this was going to require some thought!
After putting my thinking cap on, the perfect plant solution sprung to mind – Anemone blanda. It is a low growing, mat-forming plant, which produces beautiful daisy flowers from March to April. When it comes to planting, you can throw down the corms, which resemble rabbit poo in appearance and cover them over with a mulch.
So I set about gently loosening up the soil with my hand rotavating tool, threw down the corms and mulch over the area with a layer of coir compost. The coir compost mulch will also give the perennials some protection from the worst of the winter weather. Next spring should be full of pastel-coloured daisies in bloom around the wildlife pond, and I, for one, cannot wait.
Coir compost has a lovely colour when damp adding a decorative effect whilst locking in moisture. Coir has little in the way of nutrients, but in time will improve the heavy clay soil structure. You buy coir in lightweight, small blocks and add water to expand it, making coir a great alternative to lumping heavy compost bags around.
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