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A Generic Photo of muscari growing in a container. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.

A Generic Photo of muscari growing in a container. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.

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If your summer pots are looking straggly and tired, bite the bullet, bin the summer bedding and make a head start by filling your containers with spring bulbs.

Bulbs often do better in containers than in the ground, as you can control drainage better and plant them in gritty compost, which gives them more chance of success.

Ideally, daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths should be planted by the end of September, although they can be planted later.

Tulips should be planted in late October or November, as they need a drop in temperature to root well. Planting in lower temperatures may also reduce the chances of them getting a fungal disease called tulip blight (Botrytis tulipae), which can rot the bulbs or cause lesions on the leaves.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that spring bulbs in pots should all be of the dwarf variety. While there are few prettier sights than a mass of deep blue muscari filling a small traditional terracotta pot, don’t be afraid of planting big, bold bulbs en masse in bigger pots because, provided they are in a fairly sheltered spot away from strong winds, they should give you a stunning display.

Read our full gardening colulmn in this week’s edition - out now.