November offers chances to catch up in the garden, bag a bargain and look forward to a great garden in the new year. The soil in my flower beds and garden pots is still workable and, while the weather isn’t great, it is possible to be outdoors and do good work. My aim for late November in the garden is to catch up by making the most of a best garden buy that will add a WOW in spring and save money now.

Many garden centres and superstores that made space for Christmas goods are selling bulbs at half price or less. Online garden suppliers are selling bulbs that need to be planted NOW at reduced prices too. '3 for 2' on packs of garden bulbs make them this month's best garden buy, so what's stopping you creating a stunning spring garden while bagging a bargain?


best garden buy

Spring bulbs Kingston Lacy, Dorset. ChrIstine Matthews. Licensed for re-use under Creative Commons Attribution share-alike 2 generic licenCe.

Best garden buy: reduced price bulbs

Only buy bulbs that are firm to touch. Choose varieties and colours you like and can offer a WOW in garden pots, window boxes or flower beds next spring and summer. Follow the instructions for planting on the packets, and see our earlier blog for planting advice.

  • Crocus bulbs for spring colour are hard to beat. But there is more to the varieties than colour, so shop around in the bargain buckets to find early flowering crocus that are delicate in shape, colour and form. The later flowering bulbs are more common - giving bold and strong colours and shapes from purple to white. Packs of mixed crocus bulbs are always good but if you see them be tempted by single varieties. Some special crocus include crocus 'chrysanthus var. fuscotinctus'. Don't be put off by the name, this little bulb offers flowers in bright gold and with a fantastic and unusual scent. And crocus ‘Snow Bunting’ has white flowers that almost glisten in early spring sunlight.
  • Daffodils (properly called Narcissi) are the go-to spring flower and the more the merrier of these cheering flowers. There are so many varieties to choose from – and all are lovely. My favourite for pots and the edge of borders is the miniature narcissus 'Tête-à-tête', but look out for many more varieties with delicate flowers to tempt you. Under trees and with shrubs I like the old fashioned tall yellow blooms of narcissus ‘King Alfred’ and ‘Dutch Master’, but anything goes if it is a bargain!
  • Bedding hyacinths are a must near the front of flower borders, along path edges and close to doors or windows where you can enjoy their heady scent.
  • Tulips are my red hot favourite bulb for grace and beauty and among them the tall ‘parrot’ tulips such as Tulipa Black Parrot and Tulipa 'Estella Rijnveld' are stunning in groups where their heads stand above other plants or in pots on the patio. And for good cheer on a cold spring day it is hard to plant something better than masses of dwarf Regii tulips such as ‘Red Riding Hood’.
  • Alliums are summer flowering bulbs often found  in winter sales and well worth a purchase to add a wonderful boost to any flower border and pots. Tall allium ‘Globemaster’ or ‘Christophii’ produce wonderful purple globes that look fantastic in groups of five or more toward the back of a border or in pots, while the smaller allium 'Moly' gives a splash of yellow at the front of the summer border.
best garden buy

Alliums at Coleton Fishacre. Derek Harper, Licensed for re-use under Creative Commons attribution-share alike 2.0 generic licence.


It's easy: reduce the price of a great garden by bagging a bulb bargain now. And while you do it, banish winter blues and look forward to a glorious  spring and summer right outside your door!