Last week I received an email from the person managing the club inviting me to take part in a competition so with the weather preventing much outdoor distraction and the fact that I was fast running out of new ideas for a blog post, I decided to give it a go!
The idea of the competition was to choose five bulbs from the Spalding spring bulb collection that would create a lovely spring display in a patio tub and then to write a blog post about it.
Obviously there was the restriction that I could only use bulbs from Spalding so my first task was to see what they had on offer. I discarded the collections of mixed colours as I wanted to control the colour scheme. The bulb that took my eye was Fritillariamichailovskyi. It grows 15 centimetres high and flowers in April and May. Being a short plant it wasn't going to create a big impact but it provided me with my colour scheme which would be mainly yellows and purples. I also wanted all the bulbs to flowers at around the same time to achieve maximum impact.
So my next task was to check out yellow and purple flowers which immediately brought to mind tulips. I wanted a dark purple tulip and there were three possible selections but I felt that two which could grow to 60 centimetres were too tall so I ended up choosing Tulip'Ronaldo' - growing to 50 centimetres. This was a bit taller than I wanted really but wasn't too tall for a reasonably large planter.
Whilst browsing the tulips I came across another variety that I thought would combine well with the yellow and purple theme and also lighten it a little making the dark purple tulip have more impact. This variety was Tulip'Flaming Flag' which would grow to 45 centimetres.
I now wanted to add more yellow as purple was starting to be too dominant and I also wanted to use different shaped flowers in the mix. Most so far had been a type of bell shape. I came across a hyacinth that fitted the bill with the added bonus of providing perfume. On a patio this would be most welcome. The variety chosen was 'Yellow Queen' which grows to 20 centimetres. This would also provide a bit of a bridge in height between the taller growing tulips and the fritillaria.
One variety left to choose and I decided that I wanted a narcissus of some type. My choices were cut down as I needed a variety that flowered at the same time as the other bulbs chosen. I also wanted to introduce more white into the mix so that the lighter coloured tulip looked to 'belong' more. I was leaning towards a miniature variety as this would have been a better height to provide a more gentle tiered look but the one that fitted this brief was Thalia which wasn't available as a separate variety. Then I spotted Double-Flowered Narcissi'Double Fashion'. Growing between 40 and 50 centimetres tall it is a bit taller than I would have liked but the colours link in really well and in a way seem to tie the whole colour scheme together also providing a different shape.
So here's my final selection show together. Obviously it's too late now to actually plant it up but I could be tempted as it's a pity that I'll never really see the end product except in my imagination.