Bulbs in Containers

Patios are now very popular features in many gardens and they will be enhanced by tubs and other ornamental containers filled with bulbous and other subjects. This method of cultivation is especially suited to those slightly tender subjects — agapanthus, amaryllis, crinums, nerines and others — for the containers can be put in to the conservatory, greenhouse or a frostproof shed for the winter.

A most important point when growing bulbs in containers is to ensure that the drainage is good and there should be adequate holes to allow the surplus water to escape. These will either be at the bottoms or the sides of the container.

Bulbs in Containers

Naturalized Bulbs

Naturalized bulbs, as the term implies, are those gown under as near natural conditions as possible. They can look very attractive indeed in an informal garden setting and once planted they demand very little attention from the grower. In fact this is the least troublesome way of all to grow bulbous plants. They can be planted around trees and shrubs, down banks, in small woodland areas or in drifts on the lawn. How about daffodils around forsythia to produce a brilliant splash of yellow in the spring; blue muscari round a flowering cherry; anemones down a bank; bluebells in a woodland setting, and crocuses on the lawn? The combinations are endless and all are equally lovely.

There is only one important point to remember when planting bulbs in a lawn and that is that the grass cannot be cut until the leaves of the bulbs have died down naturally for the plants must be

when the container may stand on the ground or they will be in the bottom of the container itself. In this case the container must be raised a little from the ground to allow the water to escape easily. Cover these holes with crocks and then a thick layer of roughage before the compost is added. If the provision of holes is impossible then a thick layer of drainage material must be laid in the bottom of the container before the compost is added.

I would recommend John Innes Potting Compost No. 2 as the growing medium. If you do use ordinary garden soil, this must have a good texture and it is a good idea to add peat to it and a dressing of bonemeal. Plant at the same time and depth as stated in the plant lists. Watch the compost carefully during the growing season and water when it appears dry. Taller plants may require some unobtrusive staking.

A method of growing daffodils which I have found particularly rewarding is that of planting double layers of daffodil bulbs in tubs at least 12 in. deep. Place a layer of crocks over the drainage holes and cover this with roughage. Add a layer of compost and set the first layer of bulbs in position. Cover the bulbs with compost so that the tips are just showing and then position the second layer of bulbs between the tips of the first layer. Work in the compost among these bulbs and make this firm.

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