Louise Curley, author of The Cut Flower Patch, shares this month’s planting diary.
'I always think there’s something very reassuring about the cycle of gardening. As one element fades there’s another coming into its own and just as summer merges into autumn it would be easy to become melancholy about the approach of winter but the task of planting spring bulbs reminds me of the year to come.
'Bulbs might seem like a bit of an extravagance for the cut flower patch as most will only produce one flower stem, unlike your cut and come again summer flowers. But after a long winter it’s a real delight to be able to go out and pick a few bunches of your own daffodils and tulips. And now is the time to be ordering and planting your cut flower bulbs for next year.
'Plant up a patch of bulbs purely for cutting and you’ll have a much wider choice of varieties for cutting than anything you could buy from the shops. For me, scented narcissi are a must. The fragrance is incredible and you’ll only need a few stems in a jar to scent a whole room. My must-have daffodil varieties include ‘Geranium’, ‘Winston Churchill’ and ‘Grand Soleil d’Or’.
'Tulips come in so many stunning colours and forms, not just the single coloured goblets you’ll find in the supermarket. Conjure up arrangements inspired by Dutch Masters’ paintings with flamboyant Parrot tulips like ‘Rococo’ and plant double flowered varieties such as ‘Angelique’ with it peony-like blooms for dreamily romantic displays. For me, the discovery of scented tulips has been a bit of a revelation – the cream-flowered ‘Verona’ and ‘Ballerina’ with its vibrant red/orange petals and orange jelly scent are my own favourites.
'Think small too. Grape hyacinths and dwarf narcissi such as ‘Tête-à-Tête’ might produce flowers no more than 20cm tall but they look incredibly pretty in small glass jars and are perfect for edging your cut flower beds where they take up very little space.'