Order new summer-flowering bulbs and tubers, such as begonias, tigridias and gladiolus corms, in good time from a reputable supplier. When they arrive, unpack and examine them. They should be firm and dry – discard any which have a soft base. Those which are sprouting will grow, but they may be slower to put on growth when they are planted out. Store the bulbs in shallow boxes or trays or return them to their bags after cutting holes for air circulation. Keep in dry, frost-proof place.
The theory that the largest gladiolus corms are best is quite erroneous. A young, plump, high-necked corm with a small root-base is preferable to a larger, flatter corm with a broad root-base.
Check bulbs, corms and tubers that have been stored over winter and remove any that are soft or diseased.
Continue to bring bulbs in bowls and pots into the warmth and light for indoor flowering as they become ready. Apply a half-strength liquid feed, such as tomato or rose fertiliser, every three weeks. Deadhead the bulbs as the flowers fade and continue to water regularly.
These bulbs can be planted in the garden when flowering has finished, but do not plant them out until the weather and soil conditions are favourable.
Water the bulbs planted last month, and keep them warm and moist as growth accelerates.