The art of low maintenance gardening
One of the few good things about the darkening autumn evenings is that they remind us it is time to plant spring flowering bulbs.
Crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils are on sale now in most garden centres and if you are planning on growing them in their hundreds, there are excellent wholesale nurseries which will send you their catalogues and supply the bulbs at a reasonable cost.
I have a friend who is about to start planting a four acre field with crocuses and while we might think this is perhaps a bit eccentric, well, why not? Once planted, spring flowering bulbs keep on multiplying and can be relied on to reappear each year with a minimum of maintenance.
Just imagine the glorious sight of four acres of multi-coloured flowers beginning to bloom in early March and lasting through to April. Surely there is nothing eccentric about enjoying that. The great advantage of growing flowering bulbs and corms is that, once planted in the right place, they need virtually no aftercare.
You can look forward to snowdrops and aconites in January followed later by the crocuses and daffodils and if you choose your species carefully you can have wonderful blooms on in to May. Don't forget to include some cyclamen. There are different varieties which will flower in either spring or autumn and they make a fantastic sight when allowed to spread in semi shade under large trees.
Bluebells create a stunning azure carpet on the forest floor in late spring. They are ideal for most broadleaf woods and will naturalise readily.
There is currently a craze for establishing wild flower meadows and one finds articles on how best to do this in virtually every gardening magazine.
Some of the advice given is, to my mind, ridiculous in that we are encouraged to spend large sums of money clearing vegetation, tilling the soil and spending more large sums on wildflower seeds.