Monty Don shares ‘pretty good’ hack to protect tulip bulbs from pests and ‘heavy soil’
Monty Don hosted the first of four special winter episodes of Gardeners’ World this evening focusing on the most important jobs to do throughout the month. He demonstrated how to plant tulip bulbs for a blooming spring display, no matter what type of soil you have in your garden. The BBC Two presenter suggested using pots to avoid one of the most common problems gardeners face – drainage.
Monty explained that while it can feel like the gardening season “shuts down” in winter, there’s actually always something to do and see – even if it requires a discerning eye.
Along with harvesting some of his favorite vegetables, he showed viewers how to plant a selection of colorful tulips ahead of spring.
The host of Gardeners’ World said: “Now is the time for tulip planting. You can plant tulips anytime until Christmas without any problem.”
While spring onions are ideal for planting directly in flower beds and borders, the 67-year-old explained that pots are better in some cases.
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Monty filled the pot with a mixture of peat-free compost and half as much left over gravel to make it “really, really gritty”.
He demonstrated the potting method with three types of tulips which he arranged using the “lasagna” method.
Starting with Carnaval de Nice – a tulip with ‘raspberry ripple’ style petals, the BBC presenter placed them in the soil with the pointed end facing up.
The presenter said: “The great thing to do is stuff them. Don’t be rude about planting.”
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He added: “As long as they’re not touching and have breathing space between them, you want to fit as many bulbs as possible.”
After covering the first layer of bulbs with a layer of compost, Monty planted the second layer – consisting of 10 Monton tulips.
This variety is known for its peach-orange colored petals that complement the raspberry color of Carnaval de Nice perfectly.
According to the garden expert, some overlap is fine as the stems will still find their way through.
For the top layer he used bright orange Dordogne tulips and covered them with a light layer of soil to finish before watering them.
While the newly planted bulbs are well protected from excess moisture by using a large pot, Monty added that more should be done if you struggle with garden pests.
He said: “If squirrels or even rats are a problem digging up your onions, I find that if you get some chicken wire and curl it up and wedge it in, it’s pretty good at deterring all but the most determined squirrel.
“You won’t see any flowers until mid-April and into May, but following these tips will keep them safe until the flowers appear.”