Organized people have been consulting their notes and are busy ordering their spring bulbs, if they haven't done so already. Ornamental bulbs need ornamental pots and tulips in particular demand to be flattered by something a bit special. So it is very handy that the top pot people at Whichford in Warwickshire, England have put together a bonanza of bulbs, hand-picked by their head gardener, Harriet Rycroft.
It takes a detailed mind to work solely as a flower pot gardener, and Harriet has invited us into the inner workings. Enjoy spring.
(N.B.: For more about Whichford Pottery, see "Whimsical Planters from a UK Institution."
Photographs by Harriet Rycroft.
Above: The yard at Whichford Pottery as it is in September, with thoughts turning to next spring. All the bulbs pictured below are for sale at the pottery, while stocks last.
Above: Crocus Cream Beauty with erysimum variegatum. Crocus suits a shallow pot with a simple shape and Cream Beauty bulbs are £2.95 for 25, at the Whichford bulb sale, until September 16. For US gardeners, Crocus chrysanthus Cream Beauty bulbs are $12.95 for 50 from White Flower Farm.
Above: Mixing different-sized pots. The larger containers include Tulipa Avignon, Queen of Night, Ballerina, Black Parrot, and Apricot Jewel in their planting. Tulip bulbs are priced between £3.95-£5.50 for ten. For US gardeners, a selection of heirloom tulip varieties is available from Old House Gardens.
Above: The fresh yellow and green of Tulipa Deirdre and narcissus Pipit ($28 for 50 bulbs from Brent and Becky's Bulbs) are underplanted with a charming mat of creeping thyme.
Above: Keeping it simple with anemone blanda. Anemone Blanda Blue Shades is $12.95 for 50 from White Flower Farm.
Above: Big pot planting, including Muscari Valerie Finnis, tulipa West Point and tulipa White Parrot. "A big pot needs to look good for months," advises Harriet. "It needs good foliage as well as good flowers. There's no point in planting delphiniums for instance, in a large pot." West Point is $18.99 for 20 bulbs; contact Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm for availability.
(N.B.: For more spring garden inspiration, see "Priceless Tulips: Yours for $25.")