It’s a wonderful moment when potted spring bulbs suddenly flower. They seem to be in bud for weeks. Then virtually overnight, all the iris and dwarf daffodils burst into life. Colour at last. It’s much appreciated on a dark cold February day.
I planted shallow pans of bulbs on October 12th last year. Dwarf iris Katherine Hodgkin is a pale blue beauty with markings resembling blue ink pen lines. Each winter I try something new, and this time I’ve chosen iris reticulata Blue Note, very striking with deep indigo flowers and white markings on purple black falls.
Bulbs are grown on in the protection of the greenhouse over winter, but as soon as they flower I carry the pots about and set them on the garden tables. It’s so cheerful to look out of the house windows and see something colourful.
I’ve used pussy willow and hazel catkins to prop up the paper white narcissi. They have a habit of flopping everywhere, but look lovely with a few stems supporting them. On the right of the table there’s some cherry stems in a Kilner jar. Picked now and brought indoors they will open early for a glorious pink blossom display.
Scented paper whites might be too strong for indoors, but on the garden tables they are perfect. The creamy white flowers are a pretty accompaniment to emerging fluffy grey willow catkins.
A large Sankey terracotta plant pot of Narcissus February Gold makes a centrepiece for the picnic table. Hazel twigs are used for supports.
Here’s how I started out in October with a selection of terracotta plant pots, many inherited from my grandfather Ted Foulds.
I use a mix of 50/50 peat free compost and grit for good drainage. Bulbs are planted half way down the pots. They are watered once and placed on the greenhouse staging.
Pots are topped with extra grit to finish them off. This keeps the flowers clean and stops them being splashed with soil when watering.
Hyacinths are almost perched on the top of compost in individual 4″ pots. These are placed in a huge plant pot under the potting shed bench in dark, cool, frost free conditions and brought out just before Christmas when flower spikes are showing.
Here’s the view from the potting shed in October as I’m planting all these bulbs. A lovely reminder of all the sunny autumn days we had.
For contrast, here’s an oak tree from the lane where I live. Just as beautiful. Like a charcoal pencil drawing.
Have your spring bulbs started to flower this week? Are you trying anything new, like me, as well as sticking to a few old favourites too.
Get in touch and let me know what’s happening in your garden at the moment.
I am @kgimson on twitter
Karengimson1 on instagram
Links: I like to join in with Cathy for #IAVOM In a vase on Monday, but this week is was working, and my flowers are in pots! But I’ve read and caught up with everyone’s postings
Bulbs came from Gee Tee bulbs. https://www.gee-tee.co.uk/
Compost from Dalefoot : https://www.dalefootcomposts.co.uk/our-products.aspx