Be garden ready!

With April and May being the traditional months for peak home sales, homeowners that are planning to sell up and move on this year should consider visiting the garden centre to buy pots of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other spring flowers in bud that will bloom at the time you hope to have viewings. These spring flowers are top performers when it comes to creating instant “kerb appeal” and you get a big payoff, for a small outlay, if you buy the bulbs in autumn and plant them straightaway.

For the greatest effect, think strategically about where and what you’ll plant. Stand in the street and examine your garden, approach the front door and decide where to plant flowers to highlight the special features of your house.

Plant masses of jaunty yellow daffodils during autumn in random clumps in your lawn and borders

Daffodils are great for putting seasonal trees and shrubs in the spotlight. Choose several types of daffodils and narcissus that flower at different times to keep the colour going for months on end. Plant plenty in pots too, so that you can create an instant display or fill gaps that emerge. Here and there, plant a dozen tulips or more – either in a single colour or in mixed “bouquets” of red, purple, white, orange, pink and stripes. If you miss this autumn’s planting slot then buy potted bulbs in bud in spring to make instant displays.

Plant borders with a colourful mix of tulips and other spring flowers such as wallflowers, sweet William and forget-me-knots

For an endless display during the spring months, plant some choice shrubs such as witch hazel, forsythia, Kerria japonica and viburnum and if you have acid or ericaceous soil you can also add specimen azaleas, rhododendrons and fragrant Pieris japonica to the border with purple and gold crocus; dainty white snowdrops; pink-and-white narcissi; blue hyacinths; bright white Anemone blanda and tulips of several colours.

Aim to be creative when planting, for example you can plant in a layer of bulbs beneath ground hugging evergreens or use the bulbs to outline an existing bed. Most impressive is a river effect, created by planting muscari or grape hyacinth bulbs in staggered double lines.

Transform your patio and decorate your doorstep with seasonal containers

Hyacinths planted near doors and walkways will add a lovely perfume to the spring air. Select pots of different styles and sizes for bulb flowers of different heights and bloom times — then mix and match. In larger containers, plant ‘lasagna style’, which is a mixture of many bulbs, arranged in different layers to achieve months of successive bloom.

It’s always best to choose one dominant colour for a planting scheme and only add one or two supporting tones

Favourite colours and in particular with women, who after all are often the decision makers when it comes to choosing which house to buy, are rich pink tulips with splashes of white tulips and yellow daffodils — or vice versa. A ratio of 3 to 1 works well. Remember too that eye-catching yellows or reds appear closer to the eye than they are, whilst cool blues appear further away – use this trick to make a small garden appear larger than it is.

Echo the glory of the garden inside too. Arrange pots or vases filled with colourful bulbs in every room, choosing varieties and colours that match the décor. For maximum impact stick to a single colour scheme and bulb variety, for example plant pots filled with vibrant orange tulips, blue muscari, and yellow daffodils will make a nice team on a windowsill.

If you miss autumn planting, you can still catch up by planting potted bulbs when the buds have formed. Re-pot them in your own favourite containers along with other seasonal plants such as pansies and forget-me-nots

The front garden is the perfect place to plant a real show-stopping tree. Planting a tree with beautiful blossom will enhance the appearance of your house and even improve the look of the whole street, so may also be worth considering.

Magnolia Black Tulip is an upright tree that doesn’t get very big. It flowers in April from an early age and occasionally produces a second flowering in mid to late summer


Prunus Beni-yutaka has sugar pink semi-double flowers with a dark central eye, which makes this one of the most eye-catching flowering cherries that bursts into bloom in early April. Deep crimson colours in the autumn leaves give it another flush of pretty colour. It has a fairly upright and tidy habit so is perfect for an average-size front garden

Cornus Eddies White Wonder is a superb, upright small tree with glossy dark green leaves that turn red and purple in autumn. Large white flowers in spring make a fantastic show and as this tree will tolerate some shade it’s perfect for gardens that are not south facing

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