There is nothing better than seeing Instagram gardening friends in real life, and even better when it involves bulbs! The Rose Press Garden bulb planting workshop at Yarnton Garden Centre on the 12th of November certainly did not disappoint – informative, exciting and fun does not cover it, and it truly was the perfect flower filled morning!
By November the flower shows are well and truly finished for the year, and gardens across the country are slowly slipping into dormancy. The perfect thing to do is look forward to and prepare for next Spring; last weekend’s bulb planting not only celebrated autumn but was a perfect preparation for the season ahead.
Yarnton Home & Garden is a lovely garden centre and shop just north of Oxford, a perfect central location for gardeners of all ages from across the country to meet and celebrate bulbs! The range of plants for sale and home and gift items indoors was incredible (and not to mention the Christmas shop that was newly opened…) I’m sure many others as well as myself couldn’t resist tea and cake in the café after the workshop…
Lizzie was just as enthusiastic, joyful and inspirational in real life as she is daily on Instagram, providing a workshop that was filled with facts, top tips, and of course practical planting. It was so lovely to hear more about Lizzie’s incredible gardening journey – from creating her beautiful garden to starting a thriving business, it was so brilliant to hear more in such an informal and relaxed setting – I certainly felt inspired to consider ways to improve my own garden in the future.
We began with a crash course into bulbs – a quick but thorough insight into each type of bulb and corm, their properties, and when and how to grow them. A beautifully illustrated handout was also given, which provided further reading and a perfect summary of what was covered in the workshop, so there was no need to furiously take notes; it was a perfect take away from the morning.
More details into planting bulbs in pots and in the ground was so helpful, as well as the debrief into and tips on bulb lasagnes, learning to put the biggest bulbs at the bottom and the smallest bulbs on the top. Planting in borders can be tricky as to how to lay them out – I loved Lizzie’s tip (I think it was a Monty Don idea!) of throwing the bulbs in a scattered format over the area and planting where they land, to give a naturalised and prairie-like effect. As someone who’s garden is adjacent to a woodland, I particularly appreciated the tips on dealing with hungry squirrels – using chicken wire to stop them from getting to any newly planted bulbs! It was really interesting to hear Lizzie’s comments on the strange weather this year and how it has affected bulb planting times – it would usually be frosty and cold enough for tulip planting in November however this year it just hasn’t really cooled down! I also appreciated checking in with her as to where she was with her bulb planting, as it is always good to confirm that you are doing the right thing and planting at the right time!
Planting up the little display pots was great fun. Strangely I thoroughly enjoyed getting my hands dirty amongst other gardeners, as while it is a lovely hobby gardening can be quite solitary, and it was so nice to be able to converse and chat with others while planting. We planted up small containers, perfect for a windowsill or table outdoors or indoors, with crocuses, muscari and narcissi – I even made a mini bulb lasagne with layers of bulbs which will prolong interest in spring. Something I had never done before but will definitely use in future was topping the pots with moss – this was brown at the time of planting but will soon turn green when watered. This is incredibly effective, as not only does it hide the bare compost and provide a layer of insulation, it also provides a stunning backdrop which will make the colours of the flowers pop in Spring. I can’t wait to try it at home!
When finished I was super pleased with my bulb pot, and mine (along with my Mum’s!) looks lovely on an outside but protected windowsill by the front door – perfect and waiting for Spring.
I loved my time at Yarnton on Saturday, and will certainly not hesitate to book another The Rose Press Garden workshop in the future! I adored meeting likeminded gardeners and had the best time – if you need me, I’ll be impatiently waiting for my bulbs to flower next spring!