I know what you’re thinking…they’ve finally lost it! Don’t worry I’m not suggesting you eat the bulbs. I’m talking about layered planting of spring bulbs. I stumbled across this idea whilst scrolling through Pinterest and I thought I would have a go and share it with you.
I love bulbs because they are idiot proof! You plant them, tuck them in with some soil, give them a water now and then and they will bloom beautifully in the spring. Maximum beauty and little effort if like me you aren’t particularly green fingered! I also love the surprise you get when they poke up through the earth and you can be sure that spring is on it’s way. As the nights draw in and the days grow colder it can be lovely to plan for lighter, brighter, warm spring days.
It's also a lovely reason to get wrapped up on a cold autumn day, get some fresh air and much needed exposure to sunlight. It was lovely to pop out yesterday afternoon between rain showers and feel the sun warm on my back despite the wind!
“Bulbs need so little and give back so much. They start off homely, even ugly, and return transformed.”
The idea behind it is that by planting in layers each bulb gets room to grow but you can put more in the pot giving you a beautiful bouquet come the spring. I decided to do a couple of pots with all white flowers and a couple with yellow daffodils and blue hyacinths. Of course, you could choose any colour or even a mixture for a rainbow pot.
Here’s what I did:
Start by putting some gravel (or broken pot) at the bottom of each pot for drainage. Then cover this with compost. Then place your first bulbs which need the deepest soil (in my case tulips and daffodils) with their roots down and shoot up, at the base towards the back of the pot. Cover these with another layer of soil (hence the lasagne!) and place the middle depth bulbs (hyacinths for me) in the front/middle. This allows for the first layer to grow up behind. Then place another layer of soil and finish off with the shallowest bulbs with the smallest flowers (mine where tete-a-tete narcissi and Muscari) around the edge of the pot. Then cover with a final layer of soil so everything is well covered and no shoots are exposed.
You can then repeat the process again for any more pots you would like to plant. You can leave the pots outside for a few more weeks until the frosts come if you would like. However, as it was so windy yesterday I moved mine straight into the shed after a good water. Storing the pots somewhere like a shed or a garage is important as although you don’t want the pots to be damaged by frost you do need the bulbs to have several weeks of exposure to the cold. This is because most bulbs (although there are some tropical exceptions) need a period of Vernalisation (exposure to cold) to signal to go into their dormant winter state which then allows them to be triggered into bloom in the spring when the weather is warmer. The same process is needed by a number of plants for example, apples, which is why you will often hear of a poor harvest after a mild winter.
This explains why those kits to grow hyacinths etc, in vases you can buy from supermarkets in the run up to Christmas often don’t fully bloom. They simply haven’t been cold enough. If you are planning to force bulbs indoors over the winter bulbs buy them now and store them somewhere cold and dry until you are ready to bring them inside at the end of Nov for blooms from Christmas through to New Year.
Your pots will pretty much look after themselves until the frosts clear in the spring and you can bring them out. Just give them a water now and again to keep the compost moist. If you decide to have a go please let us know. As you can see this is a really easy project and can be done in even the smallest garden so why not have a go with the kids over the October holidays?
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