November 30, 2020


Home Improvement

Plan for spring garden colour now and brighten up your autumn

We are ordering tulips now for the pots at home. Swooning over possibilities: reds, creams, oranges; tall French in layers with narcissi and shorter, brighter stems. We will order pheasant’s eye narcissi again – old school, fragrant and comforting.

We have left it a little late. I was unsure at first about changing the spring flowers. We had stayed with the geraniums in the window boxes through the past winter. It was hard at first to find new flowers during lockdown and it seemed bad manners to switch. A show of ingratitude, if you will. They brightened our lives through the first gloomy days of Covid. They coloured our windows on the world.

It was hard at first to find new flowers during lockdown and it seemed bad manners to switch

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The roof terrace was stocked with a few random plants found at a fruit and veg stall, with a more tasteful David Austin rose delivery to top it up. So now we have compromised and will shelter half of the Barbie pink geraniums through the winter and plant a few other pots with bulbs. A promise with a future, a pact forged with tulips. The window boxes will stay as they are.

We will order too many spring bulbs and share any spares with Kala, my daughter. We are trialling overwintering hardy annual seeds from Higgledy Garden at her’s: calendula, nigella, cornflower, godetia, gypsophila, eschscholzia, candytuft, Ammi majus, phacelia and multicoloured ‘rainbow hippy love child’ chrysanthemum. Kala drew out a plan, areas chosen for colour and height. They sprouted early and seem happy. She’s become a gifted, proper gardener. I couldn’t be more proud.

So here we are, endlessly poring over tulip sites: Bloms, Peter Nyssen, Farmer Gracy, Sarah Raven. Keeping anxiety and darkness at bay with thoughts of a brighter May. Henri is with her mum so we are sending each other links. Kala and I have already bought more pots.

Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from

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