Summer flowering bulbs, corms and tubers add color and interest to your English garden. Using these lovely plants adds variety and height to a border without creating a new bed. Just plant them in among other perennials, annuals, or shrubs. It is a good idea to mark the position of your bulbs after they have flowered because after they die back you need to know where they are so you donít dig in that spot.
You can also grow them in containers, pots and hanging baskets. The taller ones such as Gladiolus are excellent for fresh flower arrangements.
They are easy to grow and in warmer areas (Zones 6 or higher) can be left where you planted them for many years.
In colder zones, you can save summer-flowering bulbs, corms, and tubers for re-planting next year. Wait until the foliage has turned yellow and dried naturally. Then you can dig them up, remove loose soil and store them in a dry and frost free place over winter. Trays or bags of sand make good storage containers.
How to plant summer flowering bulbs
Most summer flowering bulbs should be planted after the danger of frost has passed. You can start them indoors a month or two earlier to get a jump on summer.
Add some compost to the soil where youíll be planting your bulbs, so youíre sure itís loose and fertile. This is especially important if your soil is heavy clay. If your soil is frequently wet, then add some small gravel to the bottom of the planting hole to keep the bulbs from rotting.
If you are growing the taller plants such as Gladioli they will need supports to keep the flower spikes upright. The English like to use natural supports like thin branches pruned from trees or shrubs. This is a good way to recycle your cut branches!
A selection of summer flowering bulbs
Height 12 inches. Likes sun or part shade Ė does better in the ground rather than in pots.
Good in pots. Height 8 inches.
Flowers July August. Height 3ft.
Flower July-October. Height varies from 10 to 24 inches.
They like well-drained soil and a sheltered spot so that the flowers are protected from the sun during the hottest part of the day. Freesias have gloriously scented flowers.
Flower from July-October. They like a sunny sheltered spot with any good garden soil. Plant them at intervals of two weeks to give you a succession of flowers. Plant corms in groups of five or more in the mixed border.
Flower June-September. Height 18 inches to 4 feet.