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Bulbs: Is the English climate (Swindon) too cold for bulbs to over winter without being in a cold frame or wrapped in copious amounts of layers? Or will they be fine as long as I raise them off the ground in case of ground frost? Does a particular type of pot protect them from frost more? Are there any frost-proof clay/stone pots that aren't really expensive? Also (sorry) with regards to the amount of bulbs in a pot - do I just put as many in as I can fit without them touching?x



It all depends on which type of bulbs you are talking about, Hv. Here in the north of Scotland we grow very many different bulbs in the open garden with no protection at all. I am sure that in balmy Swindon you could add to our list. You will need to be more specific.
In general, 95% of the bulbs in your local garden center will grow in your garden.

31 Jul, 2013


I agree with Bulbaholic. Welcome to Goy by the way. The problems you might find with bulbs will be more to do with your soil than the bulbs. Most bulbs like free draining soil ie they do not like to sit in water logged soil.
If you think you might have a problem with that then raise the level of the soil above the rest of the garden by about 5" where you plan to put your bulbs. Or you could grow in pots. Guaranteed frost proof pots are expensive compared to other types but you can buy plastic pots either circular or square shaped. Try one of the cheap shops like Poundstretcher. Just make sure that you don't buy pots which are smaller in circumference half way up the pot than they are at the top. Water freezes in them and it can burst the pot. A cone shape is better. You have a Dobbies GC in Cirencester. Here in Scotland they have been selling a clay pot for £2 which I found survived our cold weather just fine. Use a general purpose compost mix for growing in pots. Tulips can rot very easily so try and plant them later. October is not too late. I like the miniture tulips up to 8 -10" high. You have at least two garden centres in Swindon which both stock a good selection. If you are looking for crocus or chionodoxa, again cheaper shops like supermarkets and Lidl and Aldi all sell them in larger numbers per pack than the garden centres. The bulbs will be smaller but they are cheap leaving you plenty of money to splash out on more expensive bulbs which are often quite expensive per bulb. I found one variety per pot gives me a better show than mixing them up if the pot is not too big. Leave at least 2" of broken up polystyrene ( break up egg boxes ) and soil before adding your first layer of bulbs. Leave some space between the bulbs, add more compost then more bulbs. Try not to plant directly on top of the previous layer. Have fun and enjoy your first season. The idea of raising the pots off the ground is so that any excess moisture can escape.

31 Jul, 2013


Thank you both for your responses, that's so kind! I don't have any borders so it's pots all the way! I've preordered a range of tulips, narcissus and crocus bulbs from Sarah Raven, so next on my list is some suitable pots, horticultural grit for drainage, and more compost ready for when they arrive in the autumn. I think a trip to the garden centre is in order :) Thanks again. Hv

31 Jul, 2013

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