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Pots Ready, Set, Go!

The planting day for spring flower bulbs has finally arrived and you can still make full use of it. For people who don't have a garden but only a terrace or balcony (like me!), a very special time begins. I have tried almost everything when it comes to flower bulbs that can be planted in pots. For over 30 years, flower bulbs in containers have been an exciting pleasure for me, not only when planting and the question of what to combine with what, but especially in spring, when I manage to get the flowering season to start as early as possible and to enjoy the spring bloomers as long as possible. The advantage of pots is that they are mobile, this means you can move your beauties where you can see them best. The small ones on tables, the large ones right in front of the windows. In total, there are over 200 pots on my roof garden, a wide variety of plants, most of which actually overwinter outside without any special protection. A special highlight of the year is actually spring time and they are so tough that they don't need any protection.
I use anything with a drainage hole as containers and over the years many hundreds of flower bulbs have been planted in the ground. Some hold on bravely over the years and surprise me again every spring, while others disappear, yes and I plant new bulbs every year.
One of the first bright spots in my gardening year are the magical Iris reticulata and Eranthis, or the winter aconite. Years ago I planted them in a box in which some perennials grow during summer, and they surprise me from year to year.

My first ones are Iris reticulata and Eranthis, the winter aconite

I also like to plant bulbs in pots where trees, perennials or grasses are already growing. They are the first in the year to bloom and they make the pots more attractive. Lady's mantle grows in this box later in the spring. It's in front of my kitchen window and my favorite petticoat daffodil, Narcissus bulbocodium, given to me by Carlos many years ago, delights me year after year. So tender and yet so hardy. In February she is there, dancing with her flared skirts.

I put the small bulbs of Crocus tommasinianus, grape hyacinths and glory of the snow in groups in pots where there is still space. In spring, these little surprises are a great joy on my terrace.

The 'glory of the snow' and grape hyacinths muscari ‘Mountain Lady’ have been my spring jewels in the same pot for years.

I have also planted many daffodils. This has been in the same pot for several years and it is just lovely! By the way, it's the same box that holds the irises. I believe this daffodil is ‘Thalia’.

Tulip ‘Marilyn’, just fantastic over weeks!

From my experience, you don't need to put much effort into choosing container-friendly tulips. There is always a lot of wind in my roof garden, but I still dare to plant tulips that are well over half a meter high. They come close together in the pot and support each other this way. Never has a stem broken or a pot fallen on a side. I usually don't plant until November and only cover the soil with the leaves that accumulate on my roof. I protect large pots with nets because the natural enemies of my tulips are squirrels, which hide their nuts in the pots and “dig up” the tulips for me.

Oh how sweet! Yes, but they are a bit silly and think a flower bulb is a nut... better than moles though!
My showoff pots actually include the ones with the mixes. I learned in Jacqueline van der Kloet's book the layering method: the late, large flowering bulbs at the bottom, while the early ones on the top. By the way, she describes this method in details in her book. Various white tulips, double and single are here in a pot with white and blue Anemone blanda. The bouquet is really eye-catching for at least two good months.

It's all in the mix: white tulips and Anemone blanda ‘White Splendor’ and ‘Blue Shades’

This is the same pot three weeks later. By the way, the double white tulip smells fantastic.

Alliums are one of my favorite late spring bloomers. Here is the small, sweet Allium neapolitanum. But I also have Allium sphaerocephalon and ‘Giganteum’ in the pots. I'll show them another time, as we talked about the Big Five here just last week.

Today I feel like Carlos usually does: I could talk forever about the colorful life in my pots and never find an end. It doesn't depend on the individual varieties, anything goes, just try some out and I promise you, it’s so much fun, already while shopping!

My bulbs have already arrived. I wish you a lot of fun in your garden or balcony and send you all warm regards from the roof, 

Claudia Gölz

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