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Bulbs in pots for surefire springtime magic.

SPECTACULAR IN bloom, spring bulbs in containers can put on a radiant color show; here we show three ways to use them for striking effects. In the mild- to moderate-winter West, now's the time to plant (chill tulips for six weeks in the refrigerator first). In very cold areas, plant hardy bulbs now, but protect pots and soil from freezing.

BULBS WITH ANNUALS:

COLORFUL MIX-UPS

Cheerful-looking annuals and bulbs fill the two pots at upper right. The annuals bloom before and after bulbs flower, extending the show.

Fill a 12- to 18-inch pot two-thirds full with loose, fast-draining potting soil; mix in a complete granular fertilizer. Plant bulbs in the center or space them 2 to 3 inches apart, depending on the look you want (your nursery can recommend choices for your climate). Cover with soil so tips are just below the soil surface; tamp to firm. Plant annuals over bulbs, spacing them so bulbs can grow up between them (in very cold areas, wait until bulb foliage emerges in spring).

COLOR COMPLEMENTS

IN BOLD STROKES

On a patio at Sunset's headquarters, shown at lower right, pots stuffed with bulbs put on an eye-catching show in spring. For visual impact, we plant bulbs separately by color, then combine pots of complementary colors. Potted annuals (here, the pansies) serve as accents.

Plant bulbs so they barely touch one another in a large (18-inch-diameter) pot nearly filled with potting soil (mix in granular fertilizer first). Cover with a thin layer of soil to 1 inch below rim; mulch surface. Set in cool shade. If winter rains are scanty, water to keep soil moist.

BULB DROP-INS

FOR A DRESSY LOOK

For extra punch, Suanne and Larry Casey add a pot of tulips to the big container of brachycome in their poolside garden in Fullerton, California (shown on opposite page). The brachycome was planted from eight 4-inch pots spaced 2 inches apart around the perimeter of an 18-inch-diameter pot. It grows in mounds, easily concealing a 6-inch plastic pot of bulbs.

Plant bulbs in 6-inch pots so they're almost touching (tips about 1 inch below the rim). Cover with soil. Water, mulch, and set in a cool, shady area; keep moist. Move them to center stage when buds color.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Words:375
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