a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Layered pot


Last autumn I wanted some addition cheer on the patio for the spring and I felt like experimenting with something new.

The basil and lemon balm had finished in a big aluminium tub so I turfed it all out and started to plant it with bulbs to come up in sequence (I hoped).

This was taken on 17 February 2021 and already the garden was starting to brighten up. I was getting slightly impatient with my new planter but now at least I had some crocus and the Hyacinths were poking through.

It was not until 1 March 2021 that I thought – yes this might work.

Three days later and I can even see the tulips coming through.

On the 9 March 2021 I judged the display to be at its height.

Today 19 March the display was starting to go over with the Hyacinths finishing.

I decided to measure the pot (51 centimetres or 20 inches diameter by 29 centimetres or 11.5 inches tall) and dig out my bulb packets as I was sure someone would ask me how many bulbs I had planted.

Starting at the bottom, I planted 8 early pink “Candy Prince” tulips and 8 late “Mount Tacoma” tulips. Hold on! There seems to be an extra packet of tulips unaccounted for. Where are the 8 double white late “Mount Tacoma” tulips?

It looks like there are more tulips to come! Better late than never.

Anyway, after the tulips I put a packet of 10 mixed Hyacinths. Then 10 Muscari and finally 20 Crocus “Sieberi”.

I’ve had a lot of fun planting and watching the bulbs grow. I don’t know whether they should be left until the autumn,then tipped out and sorted for planting elsewhere or whether they could survive to reflower in the pot next year.

I think there are too many bulbs to be left but I would really love to hear from anyone who has done this before or has some experience with spring bulbs.

Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

24 thoughts on “Layered pot

  1. Very nice report of a very successful effort. I have done the same before with mixed results…not as good as yours. You used a larger container with much better results. I didn’t try to reuse the bulbs, just pitched the lot and got new bulbs for the following year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought I would have to do that but worse, I know I will not be able to waste them so I will have to find places to put them in the garden. Here the Muscari spreads nicely in the woodland area and the bees still enjoy the Hyacinths even if the flowers are thiner. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An excellent result and I much prefer your term “layered pot” to that I read in a book today – “lasagne planting”!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh how cheerful! It’s like a firework display of blooms. So pretty!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! I just happened onto your site and I’m already hooked! I live in Norway and have only a few snowdrops blooming at present. Your layered container is absolutely lovely! We tried layering daffodils and tulips in containers last year with some success, so we’ve done it again this year. Won’t see much till May though! I’m also interested in your bee boxes. Did you make them yourself? Are the for bumblebees?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband made the bee boxes. He has added quite a few over the years. I do not know if you have bees that nest in hollow stems in Norway, I suppose you do but it would be a good idea to find out what solitary bees you have in your area. It is incredibly hard to encourage bumblebees to nest in artificial bee boxes, I have never tried. Every year though we have one or two nests in the garden that we spot. Some nest in the soil and once we had red-tailed bumblebees nesting in a hole in the stone wall of our house. Amelia


  5. What a lovely idea. My bulbs are often planted and often eaten by something
    Or other, maybe this would work!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How pretty! Glad it worked for you. I have never tried mixing before but like the idea. I do grow tulips in pots, but I need the pots in summer for my geraniums, so I dry the tulip bulbs and replant them in the garden in autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that Cathy, I thought I could not avoid the garden replant. Wouldn’t it be nice to just leave them in the pot and get them to pop up in the spring? I think I would need to get plastic ones for that to work :). Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely. Just lovely. A welcome spot of color–just as spring begins to unfurl.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I tried this with freesias planted in phases every week or so for a few weeks. It was the one time that freesias did not do well for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not tried freesias recently but I have never managed to grow them successfully, I tried in the garden soil. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is an interesting observation because mine were so unsatisfactory also. They seem to grow like weeds for everyone else. There are some at work that do not bloom profusely, but do not die out either. I try to move some of them, but can never completely get rid of them. I would not mind if they stay, if only they would bloom better. Perhaps, like the hellebore, I should just take better care of those that are established, and not try to move them.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s beautiful! When you say layering – did you plant each type in a separate layer, or just plant/mix them all up, six inches down?

    Liked by 1 person

    • When you plant bulbes in the garden they go in at different depths according to what sort of flower they are. For instance tulips and hyacinth go in much deeper than crocus. Often if you buy your bulbs in packets they will note what depth the bulbs should be planted at. I used the depths on my bulb packets to decide which bulbs went on the first layer at the bottom, the second layer and so on up to the top layer for my muscari which was just 10 cm. from the top. So each plant went in to a separate appropriate layer. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a lovely result with all those flowers in one pot!


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