Following up on our previous blog, we bring you now the remaining six species to be enjoyed monthly from July to December. The beauty of these six in particular is that their planting season occurs throughout the spring and summer months when your children will be most inclined to outdoor activities.
It also gives them further investment in their own education and constructive hobbies away from the monopoly of the school ground, a kind of positive of deceit, wherein they will begin to associate learning with, first of all their loved ones, and secondarily the fun that can entail.
Ranunculus asiaticus (July)
The ‘Persian Buttercup’ has eye-catching, semi-double flowers in a variety of colours, and attractive, deeply divided foliage. It should be planted in March – April, but it should be noted that they can be a little tender and, unless you live somewhere very mild, you should lift the tubers in October and store them in dry sand. The sap these plants produce can also be irritable to the skin.
Tigridia pavonia (August)
The Tiger flower is far and away my favourite specimen we’ve put forward, a riot of variegated whites, reds, oranges and yellows from petals edge to stamens core – made all the more vibrant by the August sun to which it so well responds. Again, it can be a bit tender so lift at the end of the season and plant them out in April.
Acidanthera bi-color murielae (September)
Another tender corm, but which will show upright, fragrant, white flowers, possessed of five petals and a gorgeous purple interior – a summer bloomer that prefers a sheltered location. Again, plant them out in April.
Nerine bowdenii (October)
A robust, hardy and unusually shaped flower with spidery, deep pink flowers on its leafless, erect stems throughout the autumn months. It should be planted in April – May and needs a sheltered, sunny site.
Colchicum autumnale (November)
The ‘Autumn Crocus’ will bear canoe-shaped pink petals around an upright yellow stamen, forming a wine-glass shaped flower, however, do remember, it is highly toxic and for this reason any child planting it should be well supervised. Plant them out July – August in sun or light shade.
Cyclamen coum (December)
Known commonly as the ‘Eastern Cyclamen’ this is one of the hardiest and long-lived flowering bulbs we could recommend, forming carpets of pink, white or purple flowers over heart-shaped leaves from the beginning of winter to the end of spring. They should be planted from July – September in partial shade, so naturalising under trees look particularly good.
This concludes our year’s worth of bulbous distractions for you and your children, however, the key to the success of such a project is not the initial planting and interest, but the continuation. Like an adult, a child must be rewarded for their work to continue being motivated by it, so make sure that, as soon as these flowers come into bloom you show the young gardeners and praise them for their dedication and success, and soon it will be they asking you to help out in the garden!
By Josh Ellison