Don't be fooled into thinking the final days of Summer signify the end of the gardening calendar. In fact, Autumn is the perfect time of year to get ahead of your planting schedule to guarantee a beautiful outside space next Spring.
Because the soil is still warm from the Summer season due to slow heat absorption, it's much easier for bulbs to become established before the Winter frosts arrive. Within this type of environment, plants concentrate their energy on their roots to create a network that will last them a lifetime, hence why many gardeners believe "if you are ever going to plant a plant that will outlive you, chances are you'll do it in Autumn."
With this in mind, we've sourced six different plants that can be put into place over the next few weeks for a guaranteed Spring show-stopper!
Hyacinths promise a pretty Spring display, whether planted in the garden or potted in containers. For flowering in March and April, aim to plant bulbs during the early Autumn season in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in an area which catches plenty of sunlight. Plant 10cm deep and a minimum of 7.5 cm apart.
If you're wondering how to add a touch of colour to your garden throughout the icy grips of Winter, look no further! The crocus plant is an excellent choice, as the dainty-but-durable plant can flourish in even the snowiest of weather conditions, adding a welcome splash of colour amongst a bleak Winter backdrop. Aim to plant in either September or October, in a sunny part of the garden, approximately 8 weeks before the first hard frost is expected.
With their immense flower heads, hydrangeas flaunt an elegant charm that makes them ideal for adding a sophisticated touch to a traditional garden setting. Generally speaking, hydrangeas thrive best in rich, slightly moist soil with sun exposure in the morning and a little shade later in the day. They can be planted in either Spring or Autumn, spaced between 3-10 feet apart and should be watered regularly during their first two years.
Nothing symbolizes the arrival of Spring quite like a display of sunny, vibrant daffodils. Plant this classic yet easy-to-maintain flower in Autumn and they'll be ready to bloom in late Winter and early Spring. Whilst most daffodils tolerate a range of soils, they tend to grow best in moderately fertile, well-drained soil that is moist during the growing season. Though daffodils can be planted in a close proximity, they prefer to be spaced between 7-15 cm apart where possible.
Of all the flowering bulbs, amaryllis are the easiest to bring to bloom, and this can be achieved either indoors or out. Amaryllis can be planted between October and December and usually flower for 7-10 weeks during the Spring/Summer season. The base and roots of the bulb should be placed in lukewarm water for a few hours before being planted in nutritious potting compost. Water the plant sparingly until the stem appears, then as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more frequently. At this stage, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will bloom forming a magnificent floral centrepiece.
6. Cyclamen Coum
As a member of the primrose family, cyclamen coum is sure to add life to the dullest of Winter days when little else is flowering. Plant during Autumn and early Winter (so long as the ground is not frozen) in well-drained soil under deciduous shrubs or trees, where the plants are protected from the hot Summer sun. Ideally cyclamen should be spaced 4-6 inches apart, with a planting depth of an inch below the soil surface. With their heart-shaped leaves and pink shell-shaped flowers, they're sure to look the part in your garden this Winter/early Spring.