A few weeks back on Gardeners World Monty planted up his pots for spring colour, and he explained the layering approach he takes. The rule of thumb seems to be to put the largest bulbs deeper, and to leave at least a bulbs width in between the bulbs. Below I've sketched out Monty's plan - he says the pots should be finished by the middle of May when they can be cleared out and the pot re-used for a summer display. Well I've managed the first step anyway!
While reading more on layering bulbs I saw on Sarah Raven's site there's lots of information on the bulb lasagne approach. And after seeing plenty of tulips earlier in the year at Biddulph Grange, I was ready with my tulips, the Venetian Tulip Collection from Sarah Raven with three varieties and 45 bulbs plus some miniature daffodils and pansies I'd bought on my trip to the garden centre during the week.
So armed with all this knowledge, the bulbs, pansies and my new pots last Sunday on what was a damp and miserable afternoon I set about planting some pots for Spring colour. And the wetter it got I seriously began to question why...
I always seem to be collecting crocks for use at the bottom of pots - usually that includes pots that didn't quite survive the frosts, broken pots as well as chipped, cracked or broken crockery and ceramics. With the crockery and ceramics especially it means that occasionally I'll catch a glimpse of a cup or mug that will make me smile.
So crocks in pots, and a layer of my own lovely compost I added the first layer of four tulips, some more lovely compost and a second layer of five tulip bulbs.
Then in three of the pots - 1, 3 and 5 below - I planted the mini daffodils. I would have done all the pots but I didn't have enough bulbs and I'd bought the last two packets the garden centre had. So as I had some anemone blanda bulbs for another part of the garden, pots 2 and 4 have some of those instead. I cunningly labelled 2 and 4 so I don't have to switch them into sequence later on, and I hope that later on it'll be obvious which two are different...
Then I added the pansies on top - with five to a pot and a pack of twenty-four, I was one short but fortuitously (I hope) I'd spotted a random pansy plant growing quite happily of it's own accord in the greenhouse. Well guess what, not now it isn't - it's in one of these pots beautifully making up the numbers!
So before moving them into place and stabilising them with some pot feet that we'd bought in the summer but hadn't used yet, I added a layer of grit to the top. Once they were in place I gave them a drenching along with the now muddy patio before standing back to admire them. And wait for them to grow and deliver some colour!
Despite the damp conditions it was good to get this done. Now I've just some Alliums to plant behind these pots and some Anemones for under the cherry tree, but I think I'll wait and see if there's a break in the weather first...
What bulbs have you planted this autumn?