Bigger bulbs for better blooms…


Narcissus Paperwhite ErlicheerPart of the joy of gardening is that you're always learning. I've always loved Ranunculus (Persian Buttercups) but until now, I've bought them as pot grown plants in flower. Last summer, I was talking to Carolyn Whetman about them and was surprised to discover that she sells corms toprofessional growers. She kindly sent some to me to try and told me how tough they are.

So I put them to the ultimate test and planted them in the depths of winter, in my un-heated greenhouse. Yet, despite temperatures going well below freezing, they have sprouted and are romping away! I'm staggered at how how resilient they are. I'd always thought they needed plenty of tenderloving care…but they don't!

One of the stars in my greenhouse at the moment are my Narcissus Paperwhite Erlicheer (pictured) which I bought from De Jager. I've always said that bigger bulbs give better results and here's living proof. The 14+ size bulbs have produced good plants and plenty of flower buds, while the 17+ size bulbs (the same variety) have produced much bigger plants and even better flowers. They are absolutely breathtaking and worth every single penny of the extra cost.

Out in the garden, I've started my spring clean and began by tidying up my patio. I was lucky enough to be given an advance sample of Sunday's Today's Special Value, the Ultimate patio brush and moss/weed remover from Langdon European. It took me minutes to brush out the moss from the cracks in the patio, and then I used the broom to sweep everything clean. It did a great job, and it's incredible value too!

I'm due back on air soon, with those fantastic easy-fill baskets. I thought the price was wrong, but it's true, four baskets plus chains for less than £5 each, and free postage and packing too. No wonder they're flying out!

Happy gardening,



  1. Ted From Ranunculus Bulbs March 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm -  Reply

    Many people like yourself just buy Ranunculus bulbs as a ready grown juvenile plant at the start of summer, but with a little forward planning they could be planting the bulbs themselves for year on year displays. However the Ranunculus season will differ depending on where you live. For areas that have mild winters the bulbs can be wintered in the ground. For all other areas you’ll need to lift the bulbs and store according over winter. Check out by website for more Ranunculus bulb information. Good luck!

  2. Mrs Pink March 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm -  Reply

    Regarding hanging baskets – could you give us some tips as to what plants are best mixed together for the best impact. I can never seem to get this right. I always end up with a basket of just one plant – or if I do manage a mixture it never seems to work.

  3. Diane Smith March 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm -  Reply

    HELLO Richard, I would like abit of advise I bought the apricot begonia corms from qvc a couple of weeks ago,but I am abit confused,I,ve potted them as the instructions said to pot them as soon as possible,but I was reading a garden mag and they said to wait till they start getting little shoots, now I don,t know if I should take them out the compost,till they start shooting, or leave them were they are ? Please help as I don,t want to ruin them they look so pretty on photo,s you show.
    Regards Diane Smith.

  4. Christine March 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Richard, just a note to say how much I enjoy watching your gardening shows and enjoy your enthusiasm when you talk about the root system! I don’t have a garden unfortunately but do have house plants and hanging baskets outside, I sometimes use cuttings from plants to make other plants, I like African Violets in particular and these root easily in water then potted up. Keep up the good work! Cheers, Christine

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