Claus Dalby creates astonishingly beautiful tulip displays, both in his Denmark garden and in pots. I especially love this monochrome collection at his gate: big tubs of gorgeous tulips punctuated by small pots of spring-blooming heathers and English daisies. I wanted to create a similar display—on a bit less grand of a scale, but still beautiful. This is my result:
Here’s where I went wrong: You can’t plant bulbs in pots in the fall in our cold northern climate—they turn to mush. One year I had good results burying pots of tulip bulbs in the ground for the winter, but when spring arrived I was too busy editing the garden to dig the pots out, so they stayed in the ground. That was fine. You couldn’t even tell they were in pots, and they were lovely.
Then last fall, after hearing Margaret Roach at A Way to Garden say she stores tubs of bulbs in her unheated garage over the winter, I thought I could save myself a bit of work by stashing my tulip pots in our unheated dirt-floor basement. No holes to dig, no dirt to wash off the pots in the spring. Easy peasy.
Two things happened to foil my plans: (1) We had an exceptionally mild winter and our basement didn’t get cold enough. (2) I went away for most of the winter and I wasn’t here to troubleshoot when the tulips started pushing up in January. Had I been here, I could have put the pots outside on the porch and they probably would have been fine.
Oh well. As farmers say, there’s always next year.
And next fall I won’t take any chances: Those pots are going in the ground!