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Lasagna Bulb-Planting Technique

Whether your backyard is a postage stamp balcony in a city high-rise or a rolling spread of a suburban green yard, you can enjoy the fun, fashion and creativity of a container flower garden. Growing flowers in containers is a simple, sensible and flexible method of decorating your outdoor living space.

Fall is the perfect time to start a container garden. Spring-flowering bulbs such as narcissus, daffodils and anemones are easy to grow and especially suited to growing in containers. You can get continued use from container flower gardens in the spring by replacing bulbs with annuals. When planning a container garden, first consider the site. What scale will complement the area? Will your area look best with large containers, clusters of small containers or a mix?

Interesting containers such as traditional pots and planters and whiskey barrels can be used. Some great choices include an old wheelbarrow, a retired automobile tire, old bath tub, toy wagon, milk crates, old fixtures-even old Volkswagen bug convertibles have popped up as "containers."

When choosing a container, remember that, like potted plants indoors, outdoor containers must have drainage holes for water to run out. This prevents root rot. If you can't bring yourself to or it would be too difficult to drill a hole in a special container, you should consider planting in smaller pots that would fit inside. These must themselves have drainage holes and be elevated within the larger container so water can drain. (This drainage water should be removed periodically).

To begin your container garden this fall, you should choose specific bulbs. Characteristics such as: blooming period, color, height, and fragrance should be considered. For example, early-flowering ranunculus and anemones offer a choice for planting in containers along walkways and at entrances. Later?flowering daffodils are good follow?ups.

One easy planting technique especially suited to container gardens is the "Lasagna" technique. The idea is similar to making a lasagna. Plant a layer of tall?growing bulbs such as narcissus, daffodils and snowflakes six inches deep in the container. Cover with two inches of soil, add a second layer of bulbs such as hyacinths and Dutch iris, cover with another two inches of soil, and add the final layer of small bulbs such as Ranunculus, anemones and grape hyacinths. Finally, add an inch of soil followed by an inch of mulch. Top off the Lasagna planting with a plant cover of annuals such as pansies, dianthus, bluebonnets plus mulch. Water well.

In spring, the results are stunning: a container of beautiful narcissus and Dutch iris above a lush multicolored carpet of flowers from smaller bulbs. You should remember to remove old blooms from one group of bulbs as other layers display their blooms to insure a neat, tidy container appearance.

Aside from good drainage, another consideration for spring?flowering bulbs is temperature. Bulbs need a minimum 15?week cold period, but they mustn't freeze. Bulbs in containers are more susceptible to extremes of cold than those in the ground. Be prepared to move small containers to a sheltered area or an unheated garage or shed to protect them from unusually hard freezes (below 20 degrees F.). Large containers (the larger the better for cold protection!) can be wrapped or padded.

Be sure to water planted bulbs throughout the winter. If you have planted cold?hardy, flowering annuals such as pansies and dianthus on top of the Lasagna planting, adequate watering and fertilization of these plants will suffice for the bulbs planted beneath.
When spring bulbs have faded you have several options. Container gardens are also perfect for perennials, annuals, and summer bulbs.


 

 


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