Arthur O'Meara with his grandson Louis Vambeck - the next generation of gardening, he hopes!

Spring colour is planted now

Every spring, when snowdrops, daffodils and tulips are in flower, I get customers coming in looking for them.

You can of course buy bulbs already sown in pots and in flower, in spring, but you pay a premium for that and supplies can be hit and miss.

If you buy the bulbs now, they’re much better value and all good garden stores will have a good selection of bulbs in stock now.

As with most plants, bulbs have specific requirements – some will grow in shade, some like dry, sandy ground, and of course there are those in between.

Bluebells, snowdrops, winter aconite and cyclamen will thrive in shade, even under large deciduous trees. All of the above will naturalise and multiply over the years.

There are many different types of daffodils, from the regular single, tall yellows, to miniature varieties, and nowadays there are many butterfly types available. These have very full flowers with many petals as diverse in colour as pink and orange, all easy to grow in the garden or in containers.

If you are redoing your patio containers for winter, plant some tulips and daffodils underneath the bedding and they will emerge from March onwards to brighten your days.

When planting bulbs in the garden, the proper planting depth is important – daffodils should be 4-5inches down and 3 inches apart, and tulips even deeper.

Try something different in a container. Last year, I planted Fritteleria (yellow), which grow quite tall, with some light pink tulips, and I thought they looked well.

But, really plant what you fancy and experiment with colour combinations, and if you choose your varieties carefully, you will get a succession of colour.

For instance, if you plant a tulip called Cape Cod and a tulip called Red Riding Hood, Cape Code will flower in April followed by Red Riding Hood in late April and May.

Bulb of the week

Bulb of the week is Allium ‘Ostara’, a distinctive new cross. The flower ball is held on strong stems and the flowers are followed by firework-like seed heads. Alliums are a magnet for pollinating insects.