Summer-flowering bulbs often get lost in the rush of March and April when there’s so much to do in the garden, but it’s a real shame to miss out on these beautiful and useful plants that often bridge that awkward gap between summer and autumn where everything seems to be crisping up and dying a death. My first choice is always Gladiolus callianthus (sometimes called Acidanthera) – a perfect white thing with a gorgeous deep maroon blotch in its centre. I plant masses in pots and they never fail. The scent is indescribable so I won’t even go there; just know that you can’t possibly live without it, and go to my newsletter here for a quick and easy how-to.
Lilies are an absolute must, and again I usually put these in tall containers and then sink them in borders if that’s where they should be. Exquisite L. regale and L. ‘Casa Blanca’ are both easy and more importantly, scented, which make them perfect on terraces and brought indoors for summer parties.
Crocosmia are another favourite. Once planted in a sunny place (border or pot) and kept watered, they gallop off into the sunset, all guns blazing. I’m in love with brilliant red C. ‘Lucifer’ (who wouldn’t be) but if you already have him and want to be unfaithful this year, then consider C. ‘Severn Sunrise’ for its spicy orange blooms.