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An almost all year garden and plant mixing

I am not sure if this topic has been specifically covered here, but I thought I might inquire anyway..

I have moved into a new house that has a small rear garden which I am planning to do some gardening, more towards a flowering display (bearing in mind I am very new to this). There's a patch of green (8 X 10 metres approx) and it is surrounded by tiled/paved pathway, so I'd imagine that my gardening will be predominantly container planting. 

I am keen in creating an almost year long flowering display (I know an all year long is a hefty undertaking for me) such as tulips, dahlias, hyacinths, daffodils and even sunflowers, so I am trying to get around the concept of timing of planting the bulbs (or seeds etc) especially in the same container to ensure that the growths will be staggered with sequential blooming. 

To give a specific scenario example, this is my question:

--- Just say I have a planter (100 (L)  X 30 (W) X 48 (D) cm), and I want to ensure there are flowers throughout spring, summer to late autumn, is it ok to plant bulbs together (as long as they match in growth requirements)?

Just to throw in a flower combinations (do correct me if this is an unfeasible combination) - Tulips, Hyacinths and Dahlias. From reading around, apparently you can plant Tulips and Hyacinths together at the same time in autumn in the year before and they sort of bloom together in spring the following year.

However, as I want the container to continue flowering til autumn, I was thinking of adding some Dahlias. Is it true that you plant the Dahlia tubers in May to early June of the same year of flowering? If it is, is it ok, whilst the Tulips and Hyacinths are blooming, I plant the Dahlia tubers between them?

And of course, I would appreciate any advice on the combination of plants to help me achieve this vision (not sure it'll work with me - but hey, I'll give it a shot anyway).



  • DimWitDimWit Posts: 553

    I don´t know if I can help, but don´t forget to add some blending plants with spring

    bulbs, like aubretia, myosotis, lobularia, baby´s breath, to disguise dying bulb flowers.

    Crocus (for spring, mostly) and colchicum (for autumn) are good filler bulbs, since

    they occupy very little space, and are nice in containers. Dahlias don´t care much

    about transplanting; if you feel space is scarce, plant the tubers in separate pots,

    and put them in place in early summer. Don´t forget they take a lot of space! If your

    garden is blessed with good sunlight, try gladioli to add some height; oriental lilies

    are easier. Ornithogalum, liriope and nerine for late summer.

  • YviestevieYviestevie Posts: 7,045

    If you plant containers for different seasons you can then change them over without trying to create an all year round container.  Of course you will either have to be able to afford to buy more containers or be creative regarding the containers you use. ie old baskets painted in yacht varnish are good for spring, Large painted buckets or cans can look very attractive in the right setting.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    Remember that if you mix bulbs and tubers from different seasons there will inevitably be times when the flowers are gone but the foliage is there or dying down, and it will not be pretty or interesting until the next wave of flowers.

    It is sensible to plant up pots for different seasons, though you can include some shrubs if the pots are big enough. But remember that containers are not very eco-friendly as they require copious water, including times when maybe you are on holiday.

    Try and keep the green patch as it will set off the other planting well.
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