Bulbs and Buds

Tulips and daffodils are among the first blooms to appear in the gloomy landscape of ending winter. Planting bulbs this October will gladden the heart next April. Bulbs planted in clusters of a single color or a collection of colors in the garden can be exquisite, but if time or space prevents a full bed, consider planting a tub, pot or window box with bulbs.

Make sure there are drainage holes in the window box or pot and add a layer of material to add quick drainage, like broken clay pots, large gravel stones or chipped bark. Add about an inch of potting soil. Pack in more bulbs by planting in layers. Place the large bulbs, like daffodils or tulips, at the lower level, always with the pointed end up. Add more potting soil, then position smaller bulbs, like crocuses, to lie between the larger bulbs. Dwarf daffodils balance well with small crocuses for size. Hyacinths may be a better choice to accompany tall tulips.

Bulbs can also be layered for blooming, combining early spring, mid spring and late spring bloomers, so the container provides a colorful display for weeks.

Bulbs make good companions for shrubs and small trees in tubs, making the most of space around the edge of the container that is usually wasted. A few ivies positioned so that they trail over the edge of the tub will improve the appearance for winter.