Growing spring bulbs

by Adam Pasco

I love daffodils and spring bulbs. To get the best from these wonderful flowers, I plant up a dozen plastic aquatic baskets with spring bulbs...

pg_daffodilsI love daffodils. To get the best from these wonderful flowers, I plant up a dozen plastic aquatic baskets with spring bulbs in autumn, choosing varieties that flower at different times. When spring arrives, I pop one basket after another into the top of the container on my patio, so as one fades another takes its place.

By planting bulbs in baskets instead of directly in the pot, I avoid locking up a lovely container with a single display, and prolong the show of beautiful spring bulbs.

The trick is to create a long flowering season and not have all the bulbs blooming at the same time. By checking packets or catalogues when buying bulbs it's easy to estimate which plants flower in early, mid or late-March, and which bloom later from April onwards. It’s quite surprising how different bulbs' flowering times are. For example, one catalogue showed how to plan for 100 days of flowers from daffodils alone. Tulips are equally versatile, but add in crocus, hyacinth, fritillaries, snowdrops, anemone and others and you've suddenly created a long and interesting season of spring flowers.

Another advantage of growing bulbs in baskets is that I can keep watering and feeding them to ensure they continue growing and die down naturally. Once their flowers have finished I just lift from the patio pot and stand them in a bright corner of the garden where they can continue their growing cycle.

Of course, bulb baskets can also be used to fill gaps in borders, too. Just sink one into the soil for an instant display. What could be simpler!

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Gardeners' World Web User 17/03/2009 at 06:56

I've just found a packet of tulips that I bought but obviously forgot to plant! Is it too late now - I live in Provence, France. Regards Roslyn

Gardeners' World Web User 17/03/2009 at 10:44

Sadly, I think it's too late. However, if the bulbs are still solid and sound then do try planting them in a quiet spot and see if they'll grow at all. It all depends how they've been stored, whether the bulbs have dried out, or started to decay. If they appear sound then do give them the benefit of the doubt and plant them. And do post feedback later in the year for us all to hear exactly how they performed.

Gardeners' World Web User 17/03/2009 at 16:12

Hi: Just love your idea of planting bulbs in plastic mesh pots and popping them into your lovely garden containers in the Spring. Will certainly keep this idea for the Fall and enjoy them next year.

Gardeners' World Web User 17/03/2009 at 20:09

Thank you for the advice, I shall plant the bulbs tomorrow and let you know.

Gardeners' World Web User 20/03/2009 at 08:18

Another bulb question. I'm redesigning my garden and have lots of burgeoning irises which are now in a place I don't want them to be. Would it be safe to move and replant somewhere else in the garden. Thank you in advance for any advice. Regards Roslyn

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