We hear the siren call of bulbs to plant for spring | Allan Jenkins on gardening

Plans, pots and cuttings help bring the promise of the new season closer

There is a ruthlessness to some roof terrace gardening that doesn’t sit well with me. I try to bend with it, but it doesn’t always work. It’s too often gardening without growing. Planting in pots requiring culling.

Our autumn terrace was mostly about blues – tall lobelia and even taller salvia. Impulse buys from my local garden centre to replenish fading spring/summer.

People were swarming garden nurseries. Stocks were depleted, choices limited. But we will always have salvias now. We fell deeply in love with the colours, the flowers, the spikes, some nearing 6ft tall. These we’ll cut back and try to nurse through winter.

We’ll take cuttings à la Monty Don. November is when we hear the siren call of spring bulbs. And we have a limited amount of space.

We are buying and planning for two very different sites: a small London terrace and a larger seaside plot. I have been buying for London. Henri for Denmark, her home country. We both edit my selection ruthlessly. A small but varied group of short and tall tulips (including last year’s obsession: acuminata). We’ll do the three-flowers lasagne thing.

There will be single narcissi in pure white and a pheasant’s eye style – I love the scent. This year we bought our bulbs from Farmer Gracy, though we also happily shop from Peter Nyssen, Bloms Bulbs and Sarah Raven, among others.

The Danish spring show will be narcissi in greater numbers and on a broader palette. There’ll be no tulips as deer culled 98% of the 200-plus we planted last time. They particularly liked the stems, but left the narcissi alone.

We love to see families of deer trot through, so we’re trialling planting only from the daffodil family. I’ll report back in spring. Fingers until then firmly crossed.

Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com

Contributor

Allan Jenkins

The GuardianTramp

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