Long-lasting and bright muscari

Muscari. Picture by Tom Pattinson
Muscari. Picture by Tom Pattinson

Friend Mary’s gorgeous new, blue carpet display, that has sprung up through the turf at Barter Books entrance, just shows what can be achieved with imaginative bulb planting.

Scilla and chionodoxa (glory of the snow) and puschkinia can offer this at a lower level but for a little extra height, say 12cm, muscari (grape hyacinth) is the answer.

In our garden it is often late in opening but the display is long-lasting and bright.

The beauty of these bulbs is that given reasonable soil conditions the stock will increase year-on-year, and in all possibility the annual displays will outlast the gardener.

Someone asked recently at the Alnwick Spring Show where my tulip entries were. The answer then was ‘in the border still thinking about opening’. Not now though! They’re all blooming in glorious whites, yellows and reds.

It is so difficult to get the flowering times right for exhibition purposes.

Once the buds have fully formed, stems can be cut and placed in cold storage for a limited period, then brought into the warmth prior to a show. That’s fine if seasonal growth is ahead of itself, otherwise we cling on to the thought that there’s always a next time.

Allium bulbs always seem last to bloom in our garden but the result is worth waiting for.