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Brighten up your Garden with Eugene Higgins

Thursday, 19 October 2006


If you want to wake up to a flower filled garden in winter then now is the time to get digging and plant your bulbs. Our Landscape gardener Eugene Higgins is here to show us how.

. Plant now and they'll be in bloom by Christmas
. Hyacinths look best when planted in clusters
. Their flower heads are at their largest and fullest the first spring after planting; in subsequent years they tend to be smaller and looser.
. Plant in bulb fibre to make sure they have adequate nutrients
Hyacinth Bulbs - €3.00 for 3
Bulb fibre - €3.95

. Daffodil bulbs should be planted about two to four weeks before the ground freezes to allow the root to develop underground.
. Plant them 6-8 inches deep.
. Daffodils will tolerate some crowding.
. After they bloom allow the plants to grow until they die off. They need time after blooming to store energy in the bulbs for next year.
. To remove the dead plant, either snip them off at the base, or twist the leaves while pulling lightly.
Daffodfil Bulbs - €3.95 a dozen

Bulbs - 3 unusual varieties
Tulip Viridiflora

. You'd have to search far and wide to find flowers more exciting than these. Each petal is adorned by a striking emerald 'arm' creating the impression that a master artist touched each flower with delicate strokes of green. Height 26-30 inches (75-90cm)"
Tulip Viridiflora - €4.99 for a dozen
Allium Christophii
. Alliums will grow in any average soil, doing even better in rich, well-drained soil. To achieve a successful visual effect, plant 10 - 15 bulbs close together. Alliums prefer to be dry in their dormancy. Position them where other plants will help to hide their often untidy foliage.
. This allium's unique color and its large inflorescence - which easily contains 75 individual flowers and can reach a diameter of 8 inches (20 cm) across - make it an indispensable plant. The inflorescence is still attractive even after its colour has faded. The plant's leaves are narrow and hairy.
Growing Tips
. Planting Depth: 5" (12.5cm)
. Spacing: 10-12" (25-30cm)
. Height: 16-20 Inches (41-51 cm)
. Spread: 8-10 Inches (20-25 cm)
Allium Christophii - €4.95 for 5
Woodland Bluebell
. A must for every authentic cottage garden. This mid-spring flower thrives in shady locations where colour is particularly welcome. A top choice for naturalizing.
Woodland Bluebell - €3.99 a dozen

Crocus Bulbs
. Crocus bulbs are the first real sign of spring.
. Where space permits, they can be planted thickly to form a carpet of early spring colour.
. Crocuses can also be planted in a lawn to brighten a patch of winter-weary turf - provided mowing is postponed until the leaves begin to yellow. Mowing too soon prevents the bulbs from storing energy needed for the following spring's show.
10inch terracotta pot - €9.95 
8 daffodil Bulbs approx - €0.20 each
8 tulip bulbs approx - €0.20 each
Crocus bulbs 8-10 - €0.06 each
Tray of Violas - €3.95
Lophomyrtus - €14.95
Ivy plants 3 - €5.95 each

Eugene's Top Tips
. A good bulb is plump and firm, reject any shriveled up soft or mushy when purchasing
. Plant miniature daffodils or tulips as they are much easier to manage when they die down. The normal bulb grows to 2 ft and miniature grows to half that. They won't get blown over as easy so are therefore tidier and easier to manage.
. Don't cut leaves of bulbs after flowering; allow them to die down naturally as the leaves gather the food and energy for next years flowering. It takes 6-8 weeks for all the leaves to die back.
. Planting depth of bulbs varies from variety to variety. Check information on pack for details of depth

. Most bulbs require very little maintenance when planted. Hardy bulbs can be safely left in the ground year after year.
. For best results, plant your bulbs according to the package's planting times. In general, early spring bulbs -daffodils and snowdrops for example - should be planted by autumn. Late-blooming tulips can be planted through Novemebr or up until the ground freezes.
. Keep unplanted bulbs in temperatures above 40º F
. During the fall months, after the soil temperature drops below 60°F; the bulbs of spring and Christmas flowering plants should be planted.
. Select healthy, disease free bulbs.
. Add Bone meal or Bulb fertilizer into the planting hole, as you prepare the soil.
. Most spring flowering bulbs should be in the ground by the early part of this month, with the exception of Tulips which may be planted up until early November.


. Gladiolas, Dahlias and other tender bulbs should be dug before the ground freezes, and stored in a cool, dark area. Dahlia and Begonia tubers should be stored in a box of slightly moist peat moss. Gladiola corms can be stored in a paper bag without additional packing.
. Be sure that new plantings and perennials which were divided and moved last month are kept watered if there has been insufficient rainfall.
. There is still time to set out winter pansies, flowering Kale, flowering Cabbage, and fall mums. Keep a little color in the garden for as long as possible.
. Watch your thermometer on colder nights. A windless, cold, clear night usually means a killing frost.... You can keep your Chrysanthemums and Asters blooming for quite a while longer if you take the time to provide a little frost protection for them. A small, simple frame covered with cheesecloth or an old bed sheet placed over your plants on frosty nights, can add a month or more of garden blooms. (Don't forget to remove the cover as soon as the danger has passed!)
. Geraniums, begonias, fuchsias, and other tender plants should be brought indoors or moved to a coldframe before the first frost.
. Mulching fall planted perennials will keep the soil warmer longer, allowing root growth to continue, however, the plants do need time to harden off for winter. Spread a thin layer of mulch after fall planting, and then add a thicker layer once the ground has frozen.
. Collect and save seeds of wildflowers to sow next spring.

Where to buy
Mr. Middletons supply a variety of bulbs
58 Mary Street
Dublin 1
Tel: 01 8731118

You Can Contact Eugene
Colour Green
Co. Offaly,
Ph: 0579355840 or 01 867 4319