Gardens - Container Gardening

Create gorgeous planters instantly with store-bought bulbs

Christina Selby
Photography by
Roger Yip

Put together a container bursting with spring blooms

The sight of a slender crocus pushing through the soil gladdens the heart of every gardener anxiously looking for a sign of spring. Why wait? Garden centres and supermarkets have an array of colourful potted plants to sustain us'here's how to create a hint of things to come for your front doorstep.

We asked John Reeves, president of Reeves Florist and Nursery in Woodbridge, Ont., and occasional floral designer on CITY-TV's CityLine, to suggest a quick way to plant up containers that will provide a display of blooms well into May, and be easy to refresh.

Choose any combination of plants that catches your eye; we used tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and muscari, as well as primulas and campanulas. Look for potted plants with tight buds or, if possible, no buds at all—a potted plant already in bloom will not give you a long-lasting display.

Buy a container, or hunt around for something you usually plant up with annuals. To help you decide on one, picture where the display will sit. Do you want height by a formal front door? Consider a tall, slender cast-iron urn. A wide, more casual front porch calls for a wooden half-barrel or a square poly-resin planter. Another consideration is drainage holes—whatever container you use should have them. Reeves' nursery sells the galvanized steel tubs like the one we used with or without them; "we'll put the holes in for you," he says. For the do-it-yourselfer, a hammer and nail will do the trick. You'll also need soil to fill the bottom of the container, and terra-cotta pots to house plastic-potted plants, so they're easy to replace.

• 24" galvanized steel tub (10" deep)
• soil
• 2 6" terra-cotta pots
• planters 5 4 terra-cotta pots
• 2 6" pots of tulips
• 2 4" pots of hyacinths
• 1 4" pot of campanula
• 1 4" pot of primula
• 1 4' pot of muscari
• 5 pussy willow branches
• 2 dogwood branches
• 2 or 3 sheets of moss

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