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Gardening Bulbs With Eugene Higgins

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Mid-September is the perfect time to plant bulbs for a garden of colour next spring.

Today Eugene will have both the ususal and unusual bulbs. He demonstrates the bulb layering technique whereby you plant bulbs different layers depending on when they will bloom so that you will have a continuous show of colour throughout the spring/ summer.

Bulbs that are planted this month will have healthier blossoms in spring. If you purchase bulbs later then this in the season, you run the risk of them having endured damage while being stored in the garden centres. They won't perform as well as those purchased early in the season. So buy your bulbs and get planting.

Did you know that there are bulbs flowering every month of the year, but of course spring bulbs planted at this time of the year are the most popular. There are a vast amount of books written about bulbs, and the history of bulbs is very interesting. Bulbs were grown long before christian time.  The Greeks, the Egyptians and the Chinese loved nothing better in their garden than a good old flowering bulb.

So let's take a look at some bulbs.

The usuals

1) Tulips "Red Riding Hood" €4.40 for 6

2) Purple Crocus €4.50 for 25

3) Daffodil "Tete a Tete",€7.50 for 30

The unusuals

Bubs that you may not have heard of but should plant.....

1) Brodiaea or Dichelostemma variety "Pink Diamond" €4.50 for 8, a fabulous June flowering bulb that grows to 60cm and makes a great cut flower.

2) Cammasia "leichtlinni" grows in damp wet soil and grows to 1mt (WOW) with blue flowers €4.50 each.

3)Allium "Azureum". €4.50 for 10, no garden should be without them fabulous purple/blue mop head flowers in May/June.

Several types of bulbs can be layered in one cluster in a pot to create continuous color in the spring depending on the bloom time of the bulbs you choose.
To layer your bulbs plant varieties of bulbs at their recommended depth. Put in the first layer of bulbs, then add two inches of the soil and bulb fibre, then add your next layer of bulbs and so on. It is ok if bulbs are on top of one another, they will work around each other.

Always check your bulbs are not soft when buying as it's a sign they are rotten.
Plant bulbs twice the depth of their size.
When you plant your bulbs make sure there are no air gaps beneath the bulbs as they need drainage.

With thanks to Blackbanks Garden Centre for supply of our 'garden' set. Bulbs supplied also.



Apples have been a feature of Irish life for at least the last three thousand years. 

Apple orchards were a feature of most gardens in the past but with the development of commercial orchards, the tradition of growing many varieties of apples has been lost. The Seed Savers Association was set up by Anita Hayes in 1991 and with many volunteers they travelled the country locating old orchards to create the Native Irish Apple Collection in their orchard in Clare. 

(Seed Savers is registered organic which suits traditional varieties as they were grown due to their resistance to disease before the advent of the" spray" philosophy.) It has been a great joy to re-introduce these apple trees, which were presumed extinct, and to offer them for sale so that they may once again be in the hands of the people to enjoy and pass on.


Seed Savers have an unnamed variety of apple tree that they have invited The Afternoon Show to name. This young tree is currently in bloom but will remain nameless without our help. So, we invite our viewers to send in their best name ideas and the winning name will be announced on Thursday when we broadcast live from the Ploughing Championships with the tree in studio.
Rootstock (the equivalent of seeds) from this tree will be available to purchase from or from the Seedsavers store in Clare when the variety is mature enough to graft next year.

The person who comes up with the best name will receive a rootstock from the variety that they have named so that they can grow the variety of tree that they actually named!