Snake’s head Fritillary - Fritillaria meleagris

Looking Forward to Spring: My Top 12 Autumn Planting Bulbs.

Here in France leaves are now rapidly starting to turn the glorious reds, oranges and yellows of autumn and flowers are putting forth their one last flourish before heading to bed for the winter. The gardening calendar is coming to a close, but not before we have the chance to plan ahead for next year and plant those all important bulbs that will push forth through the frost and snow of January and give us the first brave show of colour for the New Year

Spring flowering bulbs need to be planted whilst the earth is still warm and before the first frosts arrive. Here in France the weather is forecast to remain warm well into next week, so now is the perfect time to get those Autumn planting bulbs in the ground.

The most important thing to remember whilst out shopping for bulbs is that they must be plump and firm to touch, so don’t be afraid to give them a little squeeze. To help prevent winter rot, bulbs should be planted in well-drained soil and in a sunny position.

As a general rule bulbs should be planted 2-3 times their own depth and around 2 bulbs width apart. In most cases it is easy to tell which is the top of the bulb, but if in any doubt plant it sideways, being clever little devils they’ll soon right themselves.

Here in France, as elsewhere, there are now a myriad of bulbs to choose from in the shops, below is a list of my favourite 12 autumn planting bulbs. Picking bulbs is no easy task, so I have chosen bulbs which will provide a succession of colour in your garden from January through to December.

1. Snowdrops – Galanthus nivalis
French name: Perce-neige
Flowering period: January – February

Snowdrops - Galanthus nivalis, Perce-neige

2. Crocus
French name: Crocus botanique
Flowering period: January – April

crocus, crocus botanique

3. Winter aconite – Eranthis hyemalis
French name: Aconit d’hiver
Flowering period: January – March

4. Iris reticulata
French name: Iris bulbeux
Flowering period: February – March

Iris reticulata, Iris bulbeux

5. Dogs-tooth violet – Erythronium revolutum ‘Pagoda’
French name: Erythrone
Flowering period: March – April

Dogs-tooth violet -  Erythronium revolutum ‘Pagoda’

6. Dutch Iris
French name: Iris bulbeux de Hollande
Flowering period: May – June

Dutch iris, Iris bulbeux de Hollande

7. Snake’s head Fritillary – Fritillaria meleagris
French name: Fritillaire or oeuf de pintade
Flowering period: April – May

Snake’s head Fritillary - Fritillaria meleagris

8. Wood anemone – Anemone blanda
French name: Anémone blanda
Flowering period: March – June

Wood anemone - Anemone blanda, Anémone blanda

9. Allium
French name: Ail décoratif
Flowering period: May – June

allium, Ail décoratif

10. Crown Imperials – Fritillaria Imperialis
French name: Couronne impériale
Flowering period: May – June

Crown Imperials - Fritillaria Imperialis, Couronne impériale

11. Cyclamen hederifolium
French name: Cyclamen de Naples
Flowering period: July – October

Cyclamen_Hederifolium, Cyclamen de Naples

12. Autumn crocus – Colchicum
French name: Colchique
Flowering period: September – December

Autumn crocus - Colchicum, Colchique

All of these bulbs are easily found at garden centres and the various brico stores here in France. Prices do vary depending on which bulbs you are buying but in the main you should be able to buy 15-25 bulbs for between 3-4 euros. The one exception from my list is the Crown Imperial, for this expect to pay about 8 euros for one bulb, but come on, we are allowed a little extravagance every once in a while!

Get planning and planting now, and come January, when you’re still snuggled up in front of the fire, these little bulbs will be braving the frost and snow for you and offering you the glimmer of hope; spring will soon be here.

If you have a favourite bulb which can be planted now, I’d love to know so please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment box below.

A bientôt
Katherine x

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'Looking Forward to Spring: My Top 12 Autumn Planting Bulbs.' have 1 comment

  1. September 9, 2016 @ 3:08 pm Top 8 Gardening Jobs for September | jardin-perdu

    […] 2. Plant spring flowering bulbs. Whilst the soil is still warm, September is the perfect time to plant bulbs which will flower early next year. Bulbs I’m going to be planting this month include Winter aconite (French name: Aconit d’hiver) which will flower from January to March and Dogs-tooth violet (French name: Erythrone) which will flower from March to April. If you’d like more ideas about which bulbs you can plant now for spring colour, please read my earlier blog here. […]

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