Karen Chapman | | , , , , , , || By
Potted DisplaysThe best public gardens offer ideas for the home gardener, regardless of how large or small their space might be. These simple, terracotta pots had been filled with tulips and other spring bulbs that were then brought out for display as each variety reached its peak. That is certainly something even I could do, perhaps growing them initially within the confines of my protected vegetable garden. Terracotta wouldn't survive Seattle winters but I like the idea of using one consistent pot color and style – perhaps some of the faux terracotta might work and be frost resistant? Perhaps a succession of colors in different pots? Maybe I can just plant them in black nursery pots and slip these inside my decorative pots when the moment is right?
Landscape DisplaysWhere tulips were planted in the ground they were corralled by manicured boxwood hedges, vibrant under the dappled canopy of the flowering cherry trees. Every garden had its own color scheme which the tulip displays highlighted. This simple design is so much more dramatic than a mix of colors might have been. Perhaps you might focus on a single color in your front garden that echoes or complements the color of your door, whereas in the back there might be an opportunity to introduce a new color scheme. Even if you didn't want to limit yourself to just one color perhaps you could plant blocks of individual colors rather than a random assortment throughout the space? Abundance was key to the display at Filoli too. Planting a soldierly row of 10 bulbs, or even a single cluster of 10 isn't nearly so striking as a mass planting of 100 or more. Just because the packets you see in the stores contain 10 bulbs doesn't means that's all you should plant. Consider planning and ordering ahead from a bulb grower. You can often get great "early bird" deals and can order in bulk at considerable savings. For bulk daffodils and many other bulbs I order from Brent & Becky's Bulbs in Virginia (such a lovely couple too!) For bulk tulips I would look at one of the specialty growers; do a quick online search for "bulk tulip bulbs".
This is an updated post, originally published in March 2013.
Welcome to My Garden Adventures
I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.