Sarah’s favourite bulbs for naturalising

In this video Sarah shares her favourite types bulbs for naturalising, including narcissus and why she loves them

The longer I garden and the more autumns I have for bulb planting; the keener I get on planting bulbs for naturalising. So those are the things that you put in your garden now, and they just become, like in nature, they gradually bulk up, you get more and more of them, they get bigger and better every year.

You have to chose certain varieties, there are certain tulips that are really good for that. This wild tulip called Tulip sylvestris is really excellent. Tulip clusiana ‘Peppermintstick’ is another really beautiful one for naturalising. Cowslips are different of course, because they’re a perennial rather than a bulb, but maybe the best family of all for naturalising are the narcissus.

Like this lovely, delicate narcissus, which is a pheasant’s eye, a beautiful narcissus called ‘Xit’, not a very nice name but a lovely lovely plant. And quite a few in here are this lovely variety called Narcissus ‘Actaea’, these are one year on and now I’m going to show you them 10 years on.

Ta da! These are bulbs that have truly naturalised. So I put in 20, 10 or 15 years ago and you can see that 20 have now formed maybe a 1000 flowers, and this is Narcissus ‘Actaea’ which is one of the best for picking, its got fantastic perfume and it is the most brilliant naturaliser. 

And if you look at the base of the bulb, you can really clearly see what’s happening. Which is that one initial bulb has then formed bulbils, one or two each year, or more even. And so they gradually form these clumps and then gradually the clumps merge into a drift and so after a decade you get this wonderful sweep of perfume and flower.