Bulbs in containers

Photo credit: The Telegraph

Bulbs were separated by type in little clumps, leaving space around for the other layer to come through. CREDIT: CLARA MOLDEN

How container gardeners can get the best out of their bulbs this spring


In Maida Vale, West London, there is a garden centre that looks like a wedding venue. Clifton Nurseries has swoon-inducing greenhouses brimming with houseplants of a size suitable only for very large houses and, outside, neat parades of annuals leading to a chic cafe. Needless to say, it’s a bit smart to be my usual hangout.

However, I was on a mission: to learn the dark art of planting up containers that, come spring, are fit to burst with meticulously neat patches of different kinds of bulbs. I’ve been planting bulbs in containers for the past three years now, and have had measured success in spring.

But while my efforts lead to the occasional surprise crocus or half a dozen hardy tulips, the bulb lasagne – or process of planting a series of bulbs which bloom at different times to get the most out of one container – has always ended up, on my balcony at least, as more of a ready meal than a banquet.

So it was down to Paul Todd, one of Clifton’s gardeners, to take pity and show me how it’s done.

Read the full story: The Telegraph


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.