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Planting spring-flowering bulbs for bees

Every year I plant spring-flowering bulbs, and every year I make the fatal mistake of leaving it until December before I put them in the ground. This doesn’t much affect the flowering of the plants, but after years of having frozen fingers, I had a revelation this year: what if I planted my bulbs before the ground froze solid? So that’s what I did earlier this week.

I’ve also been broadening my range of plants. Of course, I still have daffodils and tulips, but this year I’ve embraced a greater variety of plants.

Normally I would plant bulbs wherever I can in my garden (a bare spot of soil without bulbs already in is a rare thing now), but since I’ve ran out of space I’ve had to begin planting bulbs in pots and window boxes. But these have their advantages, and the blank canvas that an unworked window box provides is perfect for designing a container whichever way you want. I tend to use a central line of tall flowers (tulips or daffodils) and then completely random arrangements of less tall plants around the central line. The pot I have here has tulips in the middle, with crocus, grape hyacinth and allium bulbs interspersed through the rest of the pot. Be careful when chosing tulips and daffodils though, and only pick those that have flowers which are simple and quite open - the bees have to be able to get inside to feed, after all!

I tend to pack bulbs more densely than the planting instructions recommend, but it is important to plant at roughly the correct depth. The depth of planting should be given with any instructions, but in general, you should make a hole that is three times the depth of the bulb. If the soil is soft enough, I don’t bother digging holes, and just push the bulb through to the right approximate depth. It is terribly easy to get stuck with following a ‘correct’ method of doing anything in the garden, but I’ve never been keen on sticking to set instructions when doing something that should be relaxing and enjoyable. If you can get past the simple steps of getting the bulb the right way up and putting in the soil, you’re almost sure to get something out of it!

As ever, I would recommend having a look at the BBC Gardener’s World website. Their section on planting spring-flowering bulbs will give you some inspiration, and the videos there have everything you need to know about how to plant the bulbs. Click here to go to that website.

Spring-flowering bulbs for bees include: Crocus, daffodil, tulip, grape hyacinth (muscari), snowdrop and bluebell.

Happy planting!

My bulb pot beforeI sunk the bulbs into the soil

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