England would not be the ‘green and pleasant land’ that it is without the rain, but this weekend someone somewhere forgot to turn off the tap! My garden was not so much ‘green and pleasant’ as ‘soaked and soggy’, so I turned to my list of wet weather jobs and retreated to the garage to make some bulb lasagnes – no pasta involved!
The right combination
Planting spring bulbs in a pot is a great way to ensure you have a splash of colour on your patio or doorstep next year, and is ideal for even the smallest of spaces. To prolong your display, layer bulbs (hence the lasagne analogy) that will flower at slightly different times and will grow to different heights. A bit of Internet research suggested that mixed tulips, tête a tête narcissi and dwarf irises work well together, so that’s what I’ve gone for. The pictures next year will prove whether it works or not.
Take a large frost-hardy container (about 30 cm diameter) with holes in the base, and line the bottom with good drainage material (e.g. broken shards of terracotta pot, ripped-up polystyrene pieces, gravel). Add a layer of compost or bulb fibre, then plant the biggest bulbs, in this case the tulips. They can be packed in quite closely, but shouldn’t touch. You could probably go for more bulbs than depicted here (but I was splitting bulbs between several pots so was being a bit frugal).
Cover with about 5 cm of compost and then add a layer of medium-sized bulbs – in this case tête a tête narcissi and a few standard-sized daffodils (experimenting!).
Cover with another 5 cm of compost and add a final layer of the smallest bulbs (irises).
Add compost to the top of the pot, and water as required. You can finish off with some gravel or slate chippings, which will help to retain moisture. Shelter from frost, and keep an eye on the pot over the winter to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
Finally, as ‘patience is a virtue’, be patient, and wait for Spring.