The Outdoors Guy: first days of Spring-steen

Local columnist and outdoorsman Ron Larson talks about getting ready for Spring.

  • Wed Mar 25th, 2015 9:00am
  • Life

Sooke is a majestic paradise for those of us who love an early spring, those of us who love to play in the garden.

Bruce Springsteen has a Nebraska album and on this collection is a song called Atlantic City. It was covered by singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and the chorus goes, “everything dies baby that’s a fact but maybe everything that dies someday comes back”. Pretty fitting for spring in Sooke and pretty ironic that Sheeran, a rookie singer songwriter has brought out the cardiac paddles for a song that was long forgotten. But crank up the tunes, grab something cold to wet your whistle and I’m going to tell you how to make a flower pot lasagna that you just might tell your buddies about.

First thing first, you need a pot, the larger the pot, the greater the protection it provides. Terracotta pots, wooden half-barrels, wicker baskets, ceramic pots, old wooden wagons, wheelbarrows all make for useful decorative containers. If you have more than one pot, group them together for greater visual effect and to make watering more convenient.

The thing is you have to make sure the pot will drain properly so make sure there are holes in the bottom; I use my cougar knife and an old shark tooth to add some extra holes. If the drainage is suspect then put some gravel in the bottom.  Layering, or planting “lasagna-style,” is a technique that lets you enjoy successive waves of bloom in a single container by overlapping the bloom times of early, mid and late-blooming spring bulbs. Any early-mid-late combo will work and one excellent combination is to use crocus, daffodils, grape hyacinths and tulips as the early, mid and late blooming bulbs. In this particular scheme, it’s the blue grape hyacinths with their extremely long bloom season that holds everything together.

In the first layer of dirt I would suggest dropping some Snowdrops, crocus or grape hyacinths. Throw in some more dirt plant the largest bulbs 8-inches deep and smaller bulbs 5-inches deep with layers of soil under, over and in-between the bulbs. Start by filling the base of the container with potting soil. Measuring from the top rim, allow 2-3 inches for mulch and watering then measure an additional 8 inches to position the first layer of bulbs. At 11 inches below the pot rim, place the tulips and daffodils pointy ends up. Mix up the bulbs so tulips and daffodils are evenly distributed and position them close together. Add 3 inches of soil around and above the first layer.

Sit back and enjoy the show as three waves of colorful bulb flowers come up, bloom and move on. Pots planted with spring-flowering bulbs can tolerate a certain amount of freezing weather, but will need some protection in moderate to severe periods of frost. Cover them with burlap or an old Maple Leafs jersey to insulate.

Ron Larson, The Outdoors Guy