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8 Bulbs to Plant in Autumn for Bright and Beautiful Spring Flowers

Expert landscape designers Urquhart & Hunt share the best bulbs to plant in autumn for blossoming spring flowers

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By House & Garden | April 19, 2024 | Gardens

Autumn is the time to prepare for spring colour in your garden. Garden design duo Urquhart & Hunt, who also run the bulb shop Organic Bulbs, recommend their favourite bulbs to plant now.

Having previously won a Gold Medal and Best in Show at RHS Chelsea Flower Show for their rewilded garden, Lulu Urqhuart and Adam Hunt's names are firmly established in the firmament of garden designers to know, and this month, they also won the House & Garden UK Award for Garden Designer of the Year (sponsored by Cole & Son). The duo are steeped in a romantic, naturalistic approach to landscapes, and with a leaning towards large rural projects, they are also interested in how ecosystems can benefit from rewilding, as their show garden so beautifully demonstrated.

Plant Allium caeruleum ‘Azureum’ to attract butterflies in the Spring. Image via Pexels.

In addition to designing gardens, the pair also run Organic Bulbs from their base in Bruton, Somerset. “We are passionate about a new global ecological footprint and buying organics is one way to change the way we treat the soil and the earth," they say. Here they recommend their eight favourite bulbs to plant now for a colourful garden all through the spring and summer.

Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’

Plant Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’ for playful shades of yellow in your garden. Image via Pexels.

A true heritage bloom with finely divided petals that create fluffy flower heads on petite stems.

Flowering month: September-October

Height: 15-20cm

Density: 30m2

Position: Full Sun

Narcissus ‘Brackenhurst’

Narcissus ‘Brackenhurst’. Image via Pexels.

A large crown daffodil, yellow petalled with orange cups. Playful and loud that appeals to our childlike nature.

Flowering Month: September-October

Height: 40cm Density: 30m2 Position: Half/Full Sun

Narcissus ‘Sailboat’

Narcissus ‘Sailboat’. Image via Pexels.

A sweet smelling variety with white sweeping sail-like petals that produces up to three flowers per stem. Perfect for meadow planting, a hardy perennial returning year after year.

Flowering month: October-November

Height: 30-35cm

Density: 30m2

Position: Half/Full Sun

Fritillaria Persica aka the Persian Lily

Like a mysterious foxglove and also known as the Persian Lily this fritillaria, with its dramatic spires of deep plum bell-shaped flowers, adds graceful height to a spring border.

Fritillaria Persica, also known as the Persian Lily. Image via Pexels.

Flowering month: November-December

Height: 30-60cm

Density: 10m2

Position: Half/Full/Shady

Fritillaria meleagris

Fritillaria meleagris. Image via Pexels.

A source of joy to behold. Enchanting purple chequered hanging bell per stem. Grows well in damp, rich, free draining soil in light shade. Will naturalise well in grasslands or meadow conditions. You will see solitary bees clinging to the flowers in early spring.

Flowering Month: October-December

Height: 30cm

Density: 30m2

Position: Half/Full Sun

Tulipa Sylvestris aka Wild Tulips

A wild species tulip that works best in light shade, naturalising amongst grasses and beneath trees. It appears in early spring bearing joyful yellow, lemon-scented flowers that are pointed in shape.

Tulipa Sylvestris, which are also identified as Wild Tulips. Image via Pexels.

Flowering Month: November-December

Height: 25cm

Density: 80m2

Position: Half/Full Sun

Nectaroscordum siculum

An achingly beautiful and generous plant that softens borders and vases with delightful droopy mushroom caps

Flowering Month: December-January

Height: 70cm

Density: 10m2

Position: Full Sun

Allium caeruleum ‘Azureum’

Allium caeruleum ‘Azureum’. Image via Pexels.

A magnet to butterflies that naturalises beautifully, returning each year in slightly larger swathes. Forms clusters of bluish spheres of star-shaped flowers.

Flowering month: January-February

Height: 45-55cm

Density: 30m2

Position: Full Sun

This guide originally appeared on House & Garden UK.