The time of year is now upon us when we get on and fill any gaps in the Plants for Bugs trial beds. First to go in are the bulbs and tubers.
In past years we have tried a number of methods with the wonderfully exotic plant, Mirabilis jalapa. It was hoped the tubers might over-winter but even under protective mulches our recent run of cold winters has killed them right off. Then we relied on self-seeding but with disappointing results. So seed was collected and sown for us by our Propagation Department but again, the seedlings failed to thrive when planted out. So, this year we went back to the original technique of planting tubers in spring, seven per plot. Resembling black parsnips, they are rather odd things!
A Mirabilis tuber showing early signs of shooting
The strange fibre-coated bulb of Oxalis adenophylla
And freshly planted alpine thrifts, Armeria juniperifolia