It’s time to plant wallflowers ready for them to spring into brilliantly colourful flower from spring onwards. Sweetly-scented wallflowers have been a favourite for centuries, prized for their robust constitution and their generous flower displays. They’re incredibly good value: buy them now in bare-root bundles from the garden centre here in Poynings and plant them straight away in beds, borders and containers.
Wallflowers appear just at the same time as mid- to late-season tulips, so they make perfect partners for a sizzling spring display. Plain colours make the best choices for combining with tulips, as you can then choose similar shades to complement each other – say, scarlet wallflowers with red or pink tulips – or contrasting colours for a really zingy effect. Orange tulips such as ‘Ballerina’ look sensational with blood red wallflowers; or you can match a single shade in a multicoloured tulip, say butter-yellow wallflowers to pick out the buttery edging on the deep bronze petals of ‘Abu Hassan’ tulips. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find your ideal combinations: they all work just as well in containers, too.
Plant your bare-root wallflowers as soon as you get them home, so they start growing right away and have plenty of time to develop a good root system before winter sets in. Choose a sunny spot in free-draining soil, and get the ground ready in advance by removing weeds, forking in lots of well-rotted organic matter – but no fertiliser, as this just encourages them to grow loose and leggy rather than bushy and compact.
Gently tease the plants apart and set them out at least 30cm apart. Make a hole deep enough for the roots, then place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil. Firm down around the plant and water in well. Your wallflowers should burst into bloom from late March onwards, lasting into early summer.