Inspiration and ideas from your own gardens
Whatever the style of our gardens the use of pots and containers offer us the opportunity to incorporate something different, plants or styles that we would normally not include. This could include woodland bulbs that do not quite fit with our borders, tropical plants that require protection over winter or bulbs that are just not normally suited to our growing conditions.
Before you plant your containers work out the overall shape you want to achieve. It is important to consider the height and spread of the bulbs in relation to the container and of course the flowering time. Many of the smaller bulbs can be grown in individual pots, plunged into the container and then removed after flowering.
For myself, it is often the earliest of the spring bulbs that I most look forward to and that make the biggest impression, especially if we have had to endure a long winter. Many of these smaller bulbs can easily be lost in the border unless planted in larger swathes. Planted nearer the house or in containers they can be enjoyed all the more.
You can often add real impact by including complementary plants to your bulb containers. For a woodland effect use hellebores combined with early cyclamen and snowdrops. For your larger containers of tulips underplant with pansies (particularly effective with mauve and pastel shades), forget-me-nots, or wallflowers. Daffodils are stunning underplanted with Muscari and for scent hyacinths are unrivalled. Erythronium I only grow in pots, there is nowhere else in my garden particularly suitable.
Finally, if there is one bulb to grow choose scilla peruviana, guaranteed to stop everyone in their tracks. Whilst on the expensive side you will pay three times the price from garden centres later in the year and miss watching much of its growth and development. I find that we appreciate bulbs and plants much more when we observe them throughout their growing cycle.
As always, enjoy your garden.