Bulbs, Tubers and Corms
This group of plants is extremely useful for extending the season of interest in the garden, adding extra colour when required. They are highly diverse and flexible, fitting in between or under existing plants, flowering at different times to their "neighbors" helping to create beautiful, succession planting.
A beautiful species crocus that is one of the first to flower in spring, bringing joy to both the early gardener and foraging bee. Slender and elegant in stature, the flowers are almost white in the centre, with petals becoming varying shades of purple and lilac towards the outer edges. Despite looking more delicate than many other hybrids, C. tommassinianus is very reliable and will naturalise and increase readily through the production of seed and cormlets. The result is large drifts that look fabulous en masse, adding welcomed colour to the garden in early spring.
Growing best in a poor to moderately fertile soil that is moisture retentive but not waterlogged. However it will tolerate most soils and sites, including acid and alkaline conditions, as well as semi shaded locations. Plant in loose drifts under trees and shrubs, though will be equally happy in borders, pots and grassland.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 10cm x 5cm.
A small tuberous perennial that is far tougher than it looks. During summer the plant sits dormant just below the soil surface with no sign of life. As autumn ends, kidneys shaped leaves, dark green in colour and often with silver markings, form a loose groundcover. Late winter and early spring gives rise to tiny flowers in shades of white, rose pink and magenta. Petals are tightly reflexed giving the flower a somewhat demure, delicate appearance. Despite this they seem to shine brightly on even the dullest of days making them a ‘must’ for the winter garden.
Growing happily in a range of sites, from rock gardens to deciduous woodland. They prefer to be cool and dry during their dormant period (Summer) making them ideal to grow under trees and shrubs or at the base of hedges and walls.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 10cm x 10cm.
A great tuberous perennial that first appears in late summer with tiny jewel-like flowers in shades of deep magenta, through to soft candy pink and even white. These are followed by beautiful, dark green Ivy shaped leaves that are heavily marbled with silver. Being rather promiscuous has led to a wide variation in appearance, that only adds to the charm of this dainty little plant
Well suited to sunny "edge of woodland" conditions, Cyclamen hederifolium will put up with most soils and sites so long as they don't sit too wet. Being small it is important to place them where you can enjoy their appearance, so by the edges of paths, at the foot of walls and at the base of trees are all good possibilities.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 12cm x 25cm.
Dahlia 'Bishop of Auckland'
A classic looking Dahlia with single flowers of the richest maroon, set of by the dark central eye and cluster of yellow stamens. Selected to be part of the "Bishop" series, this Dahlia is strong and healthy in growth, whilst being delicate in appearance. The abundance of dark bronze foliage compliments the flowers that are daintily held clear above on thin stems.
A great Dahlia for the front or middle of the border, large containers or the cutting bed. Like all Dahlias it performs best in a rich, moisture retentive soil. Plant out when large enough to "shrug off" slug damage and after the risk of frost, dead head and feed in the growing season to ensure a long display of flowers from Summer to the first frosts of Autumn. Lift and store tubers dry over the Winter in a cold but frost-free location.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 1.0m x 0.5m
Being a species this Dahlia has a demur and sophisticated charm, with small single, soft pink flowers that glow during the twilight of warm summer evenings. The leaves are mid green and glossy, held on thin multi-branched stems.
Though not always winter hardy, Dahlia merckii is easy to propagate from seed and cuttings, flowering profusely in its first year. It likes full sun but will cope with light shade and is great for planting amongst "transparent borders", where it will twist and weave through its neighbours adding the charming, late summer flowers.
Maximum Height and Spread: Approximately 1.3m x 0.5m