Pots and containers are indispensable features of the urban environment as well as gardens, thanks to the potential they present for instant decoration. When it comes to filling pots, bowls and tubs the possibilities are endless. The only prerequisite is that planting should be wind-resistant. So apart from crocus, Scilla, Chionodoxa and grape hyacinths it will be low-growing tulips and the smaller crowned narcissi which are in the frame here.
- Containers can be planted with a single variety of dry bulb, intended specifically to create a mass colour effect.
- Another alternative would be mixed planting with dry bulbs, selected to flower successively. The method here is to plant in stacked layers in what is sometimes called the lasagne system: the early flowering bulbs go in the top layer, the later varieties in the middle layer and the latest are planted deepest. The result: weeks of colour!
- Instant planting. This refers to bulbs forced in pots, and planted as soon as the shoots have clearly emerged. A number of containers can then be filled with the same variety, right on the point of flowering. The same approach can be chosen with several different types of bulb which go well together. You might for example consider rings of the following varieties (from outer ring to inner): Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades', Muscari armeniacum 'Album' and red tulip praestans 'Fusilier'. Or what about a border of Scilla mischtschenkoana with a group of narcissi 'Jack Snipe' right in the centre?
- Another planting known as a "mini garden" takes a little more effort, but rewards you with a highly attractive result. Pots or tubs are filled with a number of early-flowering small shrubs with an underplanting of "instant" bulbs and biennials like violas, daisies and forget-me-nots. The shrubs and biennials will provide a show for some six to eight weeks, the bulbs will require replacement in the interim but the results will be amazing.