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Spring bulbs

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Production team | 15:05 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

Spring blooming bulbs are often the first flowers to emerge after winter and now is the perfect time to start planning and buying your bulbs for the spring.

On tonight's show both Toby and Joe will be providing useful tips that are worth keeping in mind when planning and buying your bulbs this weekend and these include:

  • Before going to the garden centre, think about your colour scheme and how you want to use your bulbs. Will you be planting them in a drift, for example, or in a container? This will affect how many you need to buy.
  • At the garden centre, you'll find that most of the bulbs are sold in perforated bags. Take the time to inspect these before you buy, rejecting any bags with bulbs that feel soft or have started to sprout. Some varieties may also be sold loose. These are much easier to check over. Choose the plumpest and biggest with no signs of damage or disease. The papery skin of daffodils, tulips and alliums helps to protect against drying and surface damage. Ideally, these skins should be still intact when you buy them.
  • At home, store your bulbs in a cool, dry place. If you have bought tulips or a big bag of daffodils, empty these out onto a flat surface to prevent them going mouldy.
  • Spring bulbs are best planted in September and October when weather conditions allow. The earlier you get them in, the greater your chances of getting a good display. Tulips are the one exception, however. Because they are so prone to a disease called tulip fire, it pays to wait until late October or November when they are less likely to be attacked.
Also on tonight's show Toby will be exploring ornamental grasses and demonstrating the steps involved in growing them from seed. Both Toby and Joe will be planting bamboo plants in the contemporary woodland garden at Greenacre, and you can find some useful tips on planting bamboo on our episode guide. We'll also be visiting Carol at Glebe Cottage where she'll be talking about the beautiful Japanese anemone and if you'd like to catch-up with Carol's stars of autumn, you can visit Carol's new video page. Joe will be revisiting RHS York Gate and will be looking to get inspiration for a seating area in the contemporary woodland garden and you can read more on garden seating design on his latest blog entry. What's more, we'll be airing the first finalist of the BBC's Gardener of the Year and once all the finalists have been revealed you'll be given the chance to vote for who you'd like to be crowned, BBC Gardener of the Year 2009.

That's all for now, enjoy your gardening weekend.

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