I’ve been gripped by bulb fever this autumn, buying packets of dwarf daffodils, tulips, iris etc as if they were going out of fashion. I’m determined that come springtime, I won’t regret being stingy back in the autumn – and end up buying pots of bulbs in flower at a much greater cost than purchasing dry bulbs in the autumn.
But there’s a problem with bulbs… there won’t be anything much to look at for the next six months. It was a thought that began to bother me as I was potting up a delicious combination of dark red tulips and mixed-colour muscari (grape hyacinths).
So, what to do? An early-morning bike ride past the flower seller in Peterborough’s Cathedral Square provided the answer. Glistening trays of miniature cyclamen, sat next to some lovely grasses gave me a eureka moment. Why not put in some autumn bedding plants to plug the gap?
Cyclamen are ideal for this – they’ll give a few months of colour before they finally succumb to the worst of the winter weather and can then be removed to give the bulbs space to grow. The grasses (actually a sedge called Carex ‘Frosted Curls’) are bone hardy so will last right through to spring and provide an attractive foil for the bulbs. Their delicate grassy growth will contrast nicely with the fat, fleshy tulip leaves, and their soft almost chalky green-grey colour works brilliantly with almost any flowers. My pot already looks great, but I can’t wait to see it in spring. Bulbs, boring? I don’t think so.