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How to layer up in the garden with Dobbies

05 September, 2014

Green fingered Brits are used to layering up in the garden, be that with clothes to keep warm or with different sizes and types of containers to create colour and interest in what can be a small space.  Keen gardeners can take it one step further by layering up on bulbs as well as containers using a method known as lasagne planting.  From boxes and barrels to planters and pots, containers work well for those who want bright gardens with lots of variety but don’t have a lot of room to spare and introduce lots of gorgeous blooms at different levels.

Although nothing to do with the delicious Italian dish, lasagne bulb planting is an easy way to get full, interesting and long-lasting flower displays in the garden.  It works by layering bulbs of different flowers, heights, bloom and colour on top of each other within a container of soil, much like you layer the sugo, béchamel and pasta sheets for a dish of lasagne.

Steve Guy, head of horticulture at Dobbies, one of the UK’s largest garden centre chains, with 34 stores across Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, gives his easy, step-by-step guide to beautiful displays using the lasagne bulb planting method:

  1. Choose a container with good drainage and one that will fit all of the layers – a 30cm deep pot will usually fit three bulb layers.
  2. Prepare your container with a layer of gravel at the bottom, then apply a thick layer of potting soil mixed with bulb food.
  3. Place the biggest bulbs and those that will flower latest in the bottom layer, spacing them slightly further apart than normal, around one and a half inches. Some good flowers for bottom layers are large daffodils, large tulips and alliums.
  4. Cover the first layer with a few inches of potting soil and then plant mid-sized bulbs like hyacinths and smaller tulips, again spacing the bulbs about one and a half inches apart.
  5. Cover these bulbs with a second layer of soil, making sure to leave a few inches of room above the bulbs for them to grow.
  6. Plant the smallest bulbs on the top layer, nearest to the surface of the pot. Crocuses, dwarf irises and narcissus tete a tete are popular as they flower at different times and provide a gorgeous array of colours.
  7. Finally, cover these bulbs with a final layer of soil, making sure it is one to two inches, depending on the depth of the container, below the rim of the pot to allow some room for a layer of mulch at a later date.

Steve finished: “Lasagne bulb planting is a great way to pack your garden full of colour and interest.  Planting an assortment of bulbs that bloom at different times means displays last for longer and there’s always something different to look at.  Try mixing contrasting or complimentary colours for the most attractive results.

“Done properly, your garden will flower beautifully from early spring all the way into autumn.  Speak to a Dobbies expert to find out what bulbs will work best for you and take a look at the different containers available in store.”

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How to layer up in the garden with Dobbies