“It is a greater act of faith to plant a bulb than to plant a tree . . . to see in these wizened, colourless shapes the subtle curves of the Iris reticulata or the tight locks of the hyacinth.”
–Claire Leighton, Four Hedges
I am trying to entice you buy bulbs. Is it working? Maybe this will help.
You can buy a copy of Claire Leighton’s book, Four Hedges, from Amazon in a reprint. Yes, I bought one to read by the fire this winter. The ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ iris is diminutive, but it blooms when you think winter will never end. It is a small, yet mighty bulb full of hope. There are several different varieties of I. reticulata, and all of them I’ve grown are beautiful. I couldn’t find a photo of ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ to share, but my friend, Frances, from Fairegarden came through. Please visit her blog and see the peakness of pink muhly grass in her garden. It’s quite a sight.
While it is still too early to plant bulbs here, it is time to buy. You can refrigerate them if you’re worried we’ll have a warm winter, or if you’re forcing some inside. I will plant my outdoor bulbs in November. I am doing most of my tulips in pots this year like this lasagne method by Sarah Raven with further instructions on her website. Carol Klein pots up her tulips at Glebe Cottage too. I’m layering mine with ‘Peppermint’ Muscari. For those of you follow my wanderings on Pinterest, you may have noticed I went on a bit of a terracotta binge recently. I was trying to find terracotta nursery pots for the greenhouse along with those lovely pots Sarah used in her video. Sadly, I couldn’t find terracotta longtom pots in a large size in the U.S. Although Oklahoma is far too hot for terracotta in summer here–except for growing succulents–it is great in spring and fall.
My Pinterest board reflected my hunt for Italian pots like the ones above. Just when all hope was lost, I found some yesterday at TLC Nursery in Oklahoma City. I was quite surprised. I found several containers with rolled edges, and for decent prices too. I’m still on the lookout for larger Italian terracotta containers so let me know if you find any. I’m not buying anymore of the Mexican terracotta pots.They are a disappointment. Even with shelter, they’ve cracked after a couple of seasons. Sometimes, cheap isn’t better.
I’ll do up my bulb containers in a couple of weeks and place the pots in the garage to overwinter. I think I’ll do a quick video if Bear with hold the camera. Bulbs need cold to acclimate themselves and do their thing. I am planting tulips in pots for several reasons. My family is plagued with osteoarthritis, and although young, I am already suffering the effects in my hands. Digging in cold soil to plant tulips as annuals seems crazy to me this fall. Also, tulips don’t last here past a season, and while I’ve tried every variety, even the species type, I’ve been disappointed in a lack of return. Finally, I want to amass color, and pots are always a great way to call attention to anything you’re growing. Think of them as the high heels of gardening. They hold up your subject and show it in their best light.
I potted up yellow mums in three terracotta containers in the shady front border. Their sunshine hue brightens the space and makes me glad.
So, while I enjoying fall, I’m also thinking ahead to spring. Have you ordered your bulbs yet? If not, you better hurry. I see several of the companies beginning to sell out. It would be a shame to greet spring without a daffodil or ten, don’t you think?