In a Plant Pot on Wednesday – 5th February 2020

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

https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/ina-vase-on-monday-in-the-queue-for-green/

Bulbs came from Gee Tee bulbs. https://www.gee-tee.co.uk/

Compost from Dalefoot : https://www.dalefootcomposts.co.uk/our-products.aspx

33 thoughts on “In a Plant Pot on Wednesday – 5th February 2020

  1. Thank you Cathy. I really appreciate your message. I am relieved you enjoy the blog posts. It takes a lot to say sorry, so I am grateful. I feel much better about it this morning. We will carry on as normal, and nothing more will be said about it. love karen x

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  2. Karen – I want to apologise for my rude comment on Twitter last night. It’s obviously me that has a problem. I shouldn’t go on Twitter because I always feel that everyone seems to post endlessly about nothing (same with Facebook)! Social media is obviously not for me! I also want to say that I always enjoy your blog posts. In this one your irises are simply stunning and the practical advice is so helpful. I also enjoyed your walk in the garden from Feb 8th. Anyway – keep on posting – I enjoy and am sincerely sorry.

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  3. Beautiful spring pots, the colour of irises is so welcome at this time of year. Really enjoy these gentle strolls around your garden, seeing what you’ve been doing!

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  4. Your spring bulbs are all lovely Karen! I have planted some crocus in a pot which I brought indoors at the beginning of last week but only green has been showing for what seems like days now… patience! 😉

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    • Thank you Cathy. The sunny weather has brought everything out in a rush. All the double and single snowdrops are flowering at the same time. I hope we have a colder spell, or they will all be over soon. We’ve even got daffodils flowering and they are weeks ahead of schedule.

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  5. I was really interested to read your timings for planting these, Karen, as I was hoping that more of my bulbs would be flowering by our opening in ten days time – mine were planted at a similar time, perhaps a week later and it looks as if few will be in flower although, like you say, they do seem to do it quite suddenly. Yours look glorious so thank you for sharing

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  6. There are lots of bulbs flowering outside, in the ground here and have been since Christmas, snowdrops, daffodils, iris, cyclamen,crocus, snowflakes and winter aconites, no need for them to be in pots here, along with the camellias, daphne and chaenomeles, the garden is quite colourful at the moment.

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    • That sounds wonderful Pauline. My snowflakes have come into flower today. They are a favourite of mine. Your garden sounds really colourful and cheerful. Thanks for reading my blog. All the best with your gardening g plans. Karen

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  7. These iris, and actually quite a few species of iris, seem to be quite popular in other regions. Two native species grow wild here, but are not as interesting. I grow too many common bearded iris to try new ones. (Trying new things is not easy for me anyway.) Nonetheless, yours are compelling. Katherine Hodgkin sound familiar. Our spring bulbs have started to bloom, but they are mainly daffodils and a few paperwhites. I want grape hyacinth to multiply like they do everywhere else, but they are a bit slower about it here.

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    • Thank you Tony. It’s good to hear what’s flowering over your way. Grape hyacinths are rather an invasive plant here. I’ve confined it to the wilder garden. I do love the little blue spikes of flowers, but the grass-like leaves can be a nuisance. Good luck with your gardening plans and thanks, as ever, for reading and getting in touch. Karen

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      • They are sort of invasive where they get water in the Santa Clara Valley too. (They do not become a weed because they do not spread beyond where they get water through summer.) I thought they would do as well here, and perhaps do too well. I don’t mind that they take their time. It is probably better than if they became a weed. Besides, it leaves more room for other goodies.

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  8. Excellent post Karen. I’ve taken a few tips from it for next year, including growing the bulbs on in the protection of the greenhouse over winter.

    I didn’t think to do that and left mine outside. On reflection, having them in the greenhouse would have been a better idea.

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    • Hi Catherine, I only put mine in the greenhouse to protect them from mice. I’m afraid living in the countryside means we are somewhat overrun with them. But we have lots of owls, which we love watching flying in across the back fields. I think if you put them in a cold frame or up against a house wall the pots would get enough protection. Yours will probably flower a week or two later if they are outdoors. 50/50 grit and compost is key for drainage. Good luck. Thanks for reading. Keep in touch.

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