Hello & welcome to our first Grow Girl Seattle grow along! I'm really happy that so many people plan to participate, so I wanted to give a little background info before we get to planting this fall.
A "grow along" just means that we're growing something together, as a fun way to connect virtually with other gardeners and flower lovers and share plans & progress. I thought it would be great to organize a grow along for something I love and make every year: potted bulbs. The beauty of potted bulbs is that whether you're a beginner or a gardening pro, have 3 feet or 3 acres of outdoor space, or have $30 or $300 to spend -- this is something you can join in on!
You'll need three things:
In the pots, I usually layer flower bulbs to create a "lasagna". You can set up the lasagna to have one big flush of blooms, or stagger the blooms to extend for several weeks. If that's not your speed, you can keep it simple with one layer.
Whatever you choose, it is really magical watching flowers poke up from the frosty ground in late winter/early spring when we all need something cheery. And even more fun when you have a little online community doing this together. I hope you'll use the hashtag #ggsbulblasagna or tag me so that those participating can see your beautiful flowers!
This photo is from Farmer Gracy.
We won't be planting until the fall, but here's the overview of what you'll need in case you want to pick things up ahead of time.
The Flower Bulbs
I wrote a post back in April about ordering flower bulbs, but before you go back and read that, let me simplify here first. For this grow along look for "fall planted" bulbs, meaning we'll plant this fall 2021, and they'll bloom next spring 2022. You can get flower bulbs locally, at a nursery or garden center, stores like Fred Meyer or Home Depot, or you can order bulbs online. For the most part I order my bulbs online because it's easier for me to take my time, and there tends to be a bigger selection with more information at my fingertips. But I love to support local businesses so I order many of my bulbs from Washington companies (like Roozengaarde) and I always pick some bulbs up in the fall from Swanson's Nursery and Fred Meyer here in Ballard. Just a note that if you order online your bulbs won't show up until the fall, right before planting time. This is good! The bulb company holds them for you at the right temperature until its time for you to plant.
Here are a couple combos I've been thinking about.
Blue & Orange: Bright blue grape hyacinths with the cream & orange swirl of replete daffodils - just two layers that will bloom together for a gorgeous color combo. You could add tulips, like parrot king, as a third layer to extend the blooms.
White & Yellow: Jeanne d'Arc crocuses will bloom first, followed by bridal crown daffodils with a swirl of yellow, and cream-color avant garde tulips will bloom last.
Bright: Purple, pink, yellow, and peach Empire State mix hyacinths, that will die back and be replaced with hot pink Velry Gerglev tulips.
See more information & recommended combos in my April post about ordering bulbs.
The Flower Pot
For the pot, you can use terra cotta, clay, ceramic, composite, plastic, hardy biodegradable pots, grow bags, or even a bucket with some holes drilled into it! Depending on your climate, be careful with terra cotta and ceramic, both of which can crack in freezing temperatures as moisture in the soil freezes and expands.
You just need something about 12 inches tall (or bigger) that drains well. It should have drainage holes in the bottom so that water has a way out. Otherwise the bulbs will sit in water and rot.
Local hardware stores normally have a great selection, and you can find some real treasures at yard sales, thrift shops, and antique stores.
Here are a few pots that would work well. These are photos from my recent visit to Sky Nursery.
If you have a bigger budget, you could kick it up a notch with a glazed ceramic pot, an urn (note: this specific one would need drainage holes drilled), or a steel planter. Links are just to show examples.
This part is fairly easy! Grab a bag of potting soil, or more if you're doing multiple pots. You want something well draining, which most potting soils are. I've been using G&B Organics potting soil lately because it's an organic option available at local stores. If you can try to find something that is OMRI listed or has another organic certification, that's always best for ensuring healthy content in the soil!
Go ahead and get your bulbs ordered now if you haven't already, keep an eye out for a beautiful flower pot or two for your bulbs, and no rush on buying potting soil. You can sit tight until the fall, when I'll send another post out showing how to assemble your lasagna.
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