Bulb Lasagne – Spring Update!

Back in November I made a bulb lasagne after seeing the idea in a few places online. I’ve always loved spring bulbs and wanted to see if we could bring some spring colour into our small, urban, container garden. Bulb lasagnes looked like a great way of fitting a lot of bulb varieties into a smaller area and really pack the place with life. I shared this blog post at the time with how I planted it up and the varieties I chose. I went straight in at the deep end with a triple layer of tulips, narcissi and snowdrops which was probably quite ambitious, but I went for it nonetheless. It was a bit of an experiment and I had no real idea whether it would work or how well anything would grow.

Fast forward to April and I’ve been thoroughly rewarded for my patience – I have been obsessed with our two bulb lasagne pots that really have lit up the garden. I make no apology that this post has A LOT of photos!

Over the cold months that followed me planting my lasagne pots, the doubt crept in and I wondered if it would work at all. After all, just because someone on YouTube says it will work, doesn’t mean it’s true – we’ve all learned that the hard way haven’t we? As the winter dragged on and gave us some colder snaps than we’ve had for a few years, and as the snow settled on the planters, the more doubtful I was that this had been in any way a good idea.

At the end of February, tiny shoots started to emerge above the soil in between the wallflowers that I’d used as a bit of a cover plant. The relief was immense – at least I would get a few shoots and the pot would fill out even if it was just with green leaves. The first to flower were the snowdrops, long before the tulip and narcissi shoots had any real height, although we only had one or two flowers out of all the bulbs planted. Perhaps they will come back with more vigour next spring.

By Easter weekend at the start of April things were really coming along and the first buds were forming. I expected the daffodils to flower before the tulips, but actually their buds were forming at pretty much the same time. It was at this point that we had a sudden snap of freezing overnight temperatures, and forecasts of snow across parts of the country. I wasn’t sure how my emerging, tender flower buds would cope with the sudden changes in temperature and at one point I brought the containers indoors. It might have been overkill, but I wasn’t going to get this far only for all of the lovely flowers to fall off.

By mid April the daffodils were out in all their glory and the tulip buds were starting to show some colour. I loved the Georgia O’Keeffe vibes I was getting from the tulips, particularly the shrouded-in-mystery “Mistress Mystic” almost looking like a hooded enchantress – very appropriate given the name of the variety!

By the end of April all the flowers were standing tall on very long stems, perhaps a result of our small, shady garden forcing them to reach for the light? My favourites have been the delicate, demure narcissus “Thalia”, the flamboyant, blousy tulip “La Belle Epoque”, and the rich ruffles and wine-red colour of the tulip “Black Parrot” (although we’ve only had one of those come out in flower).

I’ve loved enjoying our bulb lasagne containers and even though some of the bulbs didn’t appear to bloom, the overall impact of colour in the garden has been huge. With lockdown easing in the UK, we’ve been using our garden as a place to gather with family and friends, and having the spring bulbs putting on such a show has made it feel all the more special.

I can really recommend planting a bulb lasagne in containers – it has worked a treat in our small garden, and would be really impactful on a terrace or balcony. I will absolutely do bulb lasagnes again! I’m planning to keep these ones, putting them away until next winter and see how they are for a second year, but I love the idea of introducing a couple more each season and filling the garden with colour until the first ones are maybe getting on a bit and then I’ll consider replacing them. That’s the great thing about container gardening – flexibility!

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