DENVER — I ordered a lot of bulbs last fall. I potted them and stored them for their winter chill in both my root cellar and in trenches in my potato patch. They're out onto the patio and raring to go.
Some of the bulbs were planted in nice, well-designed blue plastic pots. These can be displayed as they are. The others got plain nursery pots. These can be sunk into more decorative ceramic pots. This also keeps the roots cool and moist. After blooming, the pots can be lifted out and the bulbs planted in the garden.
The classic companions for tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are pansies. They all like cool spring weather and can withstand temperatures below freezing. A skirt of pansies planted around the bulbs sets them off nicely.
Pansies benefit from frequent feeding. After getting them to bulk up with a standard, high-nitrogen fertilizer, switch to a "bloom" formula that encourages more flowers. Pansies need frequent deadheading. Otherwise they'll start producing seeds instead of flowers.
The new "Cool Wave" pansies are bred to cascade out of pots. This trailing variety comes in shades of yellow and blue. I'm anxious to see how they perform.
Don't delay planting pansies. If you plant now, you'll get at least three months of pleasure from them. They decline in summer heat.
More Proctor's Garden:
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