Having just enjoyed the fruits of my Autumn labour I was sad to see the last of the spring bulbs fade this past week. Having enjoyed watching the bulbs emerge from the soil since the beginning of the year and finally erupting into a mass of colour during March and April it reminded me of the inspiration for this particular planting scheme.
A visit to Dunsborough Park in the spring of 2015 introduced me to the idea of planting hyacinths in the garden. My only previous experience of these lovely plants was the indoor variety that produce, what I consider to be a very beautiful and evocative scent. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my opinion and find the aroma totally overwhelming.
Quite by chance, whilst thumbing through a September copy of RHS magazine, The Garden, I came across this article which explains in detail how to plant spring bulbs for maximum impact. Bulb lasagne sounds more akin to a vegetarian meal than to an exotic planting of spring flowers but it cleverly describes how to layer bulbs in a container.
Planting bulbs at different depts maximises the space available and provides a dramatic show of flowers.
The Garden’s instructions stated that you should start with a layer of polystyrene chunks in the bottom of the container to aid drainage. Add compost at least 10cm deep and then begin to build up bulbs using the largest first. Add another layer of compost so the top of the bulbs just show, then add tulips, another layer of compost, and finally edge the pot with small bulbs such as muscari or anemones. Finish off with more compost and grit mulch to deter slugs.
I chose to use a combination of tulips, hyacinths, and muscari which I bought as a mixed pack at a very reasonable price. Now that they have finally gone over I will tidy them up but leave them in the container for a repeat performance next year.
Autumn is the ideal time to plant spring bulbs and once in the ground, or pots, need very little attention. To see them emerge in the latter stages of winter and stay in bloom until the early days of summer makes the effort and forward planning really worthwhile.