Planting Our Container Tulips, 2016
I plant these tulips in containers, which I’ve been doing for four years in a row now. It’s pretty simple: I dump out most of the potting mix, add one or two handfuls of compost, lay down the tulips, then replace the potting mix.
The containers are all either a single variety or at most a mix of two. When two varieties are planted together, I try to make sure they bloom at the same time.
One of the nice things about tulips in containers is that you can move them around, so the best looking blooms can always be given pride of place. The spent tulips, meanwhile, can be kept in a less obvious spot until their pots are filled with summer annuals. As a result, I don’t worry about extending the bloom period of any one individual container.
This fall there are fourteen containers (it seems additional containers were recruited while I wasn’t looking). I pack the bulbs in pretty tightly, averaging 15 bulbs per pot.
Forgetting about the new pots, I only ordered 180 tulips – which meant it was necessary to then order another 30. (Judy mentioned that an alternative would be to leave two of the pots without tulips. Naturally I told her that such an idea was pure madness.)
However, 30 tulips was not enough to make up an order, so I had to add 75 Grape Hyacinths (50 Muscari armeniacum, and 25 M. ‘Valerie Finnis’). These went mostly into the Back Garden Raised Bed.
This year I won’t be burying the tulip pots. By mistake I left a few containers in the unheated garage last winter and they all came through fine. Some were a little puny, but I think that’s because I allowed them to get too dry. Plus, burying the pots – and digging them up again – is a big, messy production.
With tulips nestled inside the pots, I planted pansies on top and placed them back along the path to our house. The rabbits have been nibbling away at the pansies, so they don’t look like much. However, there is still no frost in the weather prediction so they may last long enough to provide us with some November color.
The lesson I took from this is that the containers will probably be fine if left outside. In fact, they would be better insulated out in the snow than they would be in the garage. My plan now is to line them up against the back fence and cover them with a layer of leaves. I’m pretty confident that will work.
Have you planted any bulbs yet in your garden?