Sonya’s Top Summer Bulbs

Think ahead to the summer and your borders and pots could be bursting with colourful summer flowering bulbs.  Go bold and bright or soft and subtle with colours to suit your favourite schemes.  All you need is a little planning ahead.  Plant them in the ground or pots now and by summer your garden will be full of beautiful blooms.

As well as being our houseplant manager Sonya also orders all of our seasonal spring and summer flowering bulbs.  (We don’t know how on earth she manages to decide which ones to order with so many to choose from!).  Sonya is an experienced gardener with a beautiful garden at home and has picked out a few of her favourites to mention here. 

Dahlias produce bold, showy flowers over a long period through the summer into the autumn and light up garden borders and containers with their wonderful colours, sizes and shapes.  They like fertile, well drained soil and a warm, sunny, sheltered position.  Regular watering, feeding and dead-heading will ensure the best displays.  Dahlias make excellent cut flowers and are often grown for competitive shows.   

Dahlia Waltzing Mathilda 

Choosing one Dahlia from the huge selection we offer was difficult, but Sonya went for Waltzing Mathilda which she grows in her own garden.  This gorgeous semi-double dahlia has attractive dark foliage and pink flowers with a red edge.  Waltzing Mathilda has an RHS Award Of Garden Merit and is also an RHS Plant For Pollinators.  It flowers all summer long at a height of 90cm/36”. 


Another of Sonya’s favourites and pictured growing in her garden are Tigridias which are also known as the Tiger Flower.  With their bold colour combinations these exotic looking flowers will certainly create impact in the garden when they bloom in June/July at a height of 50cm/20”.  Tigridias like lots of sunshine which will encourage flowering and ripen the bulbs to produce glorious displays the following year.  Keep the plants well watered during the summer and lift and store over the winter in a frost-free place.  

The Scented Collection

This collection makes excellent border plants and are also ideal for adding fragrance to the garden. Yellow scented Freesias flower in June/July (height of 25cm/10”) and are good for cutting.  White Hymenocallis appear in July/August (height of 45cm/18”), followed by white Gladiolus in August/September (height of 75cm/30”) providing colour, interest and height variation throughout the summer.  These plants all enjoy well drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position that is protected from strong winds. 

Mediterranean Collection 

The Mediterranean Collection will provide a vibrant colour combination for the garden from May to August.  Stunning pink/purple Iris Burgemeister appear first in May/June (height 80cm/32”) followed by beautiful blue Agapanthus (height 10cm/4”) in June/July.   Tall orange flowered Kniphofia Alcazer completes the displays in July/August (height 100cm/40”).  These plants all enjoy well drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position that is protected from strong winds.  They can all be left in the ground covered with a winter mulch in all but the coldest of areas, where they should be lifted and stored in a dry, frost-free place.