Planting Spring flowering bulbs Snowdrops, Winter Aconites and Bluebells in the Green

Nothing quite lifts the spirit, like a mass of Spring flowers emerging amongst rough grass areas or around the base of dormant shrubs. The sight of delicate milky white Snowdrops dancing in the breeze, Winter Aconites flowers shiny golden fallen stars as they follow the the sun soaking up the rays or the Bluebell happiest in the shade of dappled deciduous trees.

bluebells spring
Lovingly shared from ukgardenphotos on Flickr

Planting these Spring bulbs in informal drifts in your own garden can delight the on looker and remind us of the Spring that follows.

Snowdrops are an extremely popular spring flowering bulb known the World over for reaching high prices and out performing any other Spring bulb. Largely accepted as a native this spring bull was imported by traveling monks and later soldiers from war torn Europe as a peace offering to loved ones and a cemetery spring flower respectively.

spring snowdrops
Snowdrops often associated with cemeteries and graveside by ukgardenphotos

Planting bulbs whilst back breaking work can be extremely rewarding and you will reap the benefits of this strenuous task for many years, but before rushing to purchase spring flowering bulbs it’s a good idea to have an understanding of how to get the best from your efforts and provide the optimum conditions for your new garden bulbs.

Flowering in succession and even overlapping by a few weeks the Snowdrop usually the first to appear is quickly followed by the Winter Aconite and to follow is the Bluebell that makes a carpet of glossy green thick grass like leaves long before the blue scented, flower spikes appear. Fortunately this connection allows is to group these three spring flowering bulbs into one classification! Namely Spring flowering bulbs that are best planted in the green.

Planting “In the Green” simply refers to the fact that unlike, Tulips, Daffodils and summer flowering bulbs that require a period of dormancy before planting, the bulbs of the Snowdrop (Galanthus) Winter Aconite (Eranthus) and Bluebell (Hyacinthoides) prefer to be lifted mid season long before the bulb dries up and lies dormant.

Ascott House Gardens, Buckinghamshire, UK | National Trust garde
Fine example of a well underplanted drift of Narcissus by ukgardenphotos

Lifting the bulbs either as they emerge pre-flowering, during flowering or after flowering is an increasingly popular way to purchase your Snowdrops, Aconites and Bluebells. There’re several reasons for preferring this cultural technique of transplanting bulbs in the green, not least because it causes minimum disturbance to the developing bulb and allows the plant to go about it’s normal functions of flowering and restoring energy to the bulbs from the dying leaves once flowering has ceased.

A few important rules must be adhered to, to maximise the success of you’re newly transplanted spring flowering bulbs…

spring flowers graveside
Spring bulbs naturalise to form a carpet of colour by ukgardenphoto

Firstly as soon as your spring flowering bulbs arrive, store them in a cool location and ensure they do not dry out! Planting your bulbs should be done as soon as possible and ideally early morning or late afternoon, never in the heat of a Sunny Spring Day as this will dry the bulbs and destroy their delicate roots.

If you are lucky enough to receive your plants in flower, then prolonging their flowering is a great reward for your efforts as you get an idea of what your drift of spring flowering bulbs are going to look like in following years as they naturalist and establish themselves.


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About Head Gardener 290 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

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