Faking It in the Garden: It’s Allowed

When I look at my garden I see spring beauty, and it doesn't matter that they aren't growing in garden soil.

Do you heave a sigh when you walk out of your front door and see your barren front yard? Maybe you didn’t plant bulbs last year (like you meant to), your perennials aren’t up yet and you are left looking at plain, unadorned earth. If your garden is shady like mine, it’s impossible to grow perky spring growers, like daffodils, because there is not enough sun to ripen the bulbs for another year’s flowering. Well, the answer is to fake it. I’m talking containers. No matter the season, garden fakery is a snap with containers—especially in early spring, when there is little else in many gardens. I assure you is perfectly legal to buy your spring garden, in the spring. The garden police will turn a blind eye, and everyone benefits.

Fakery Modus Operandi: Buy pots of pre-grown daffodils, tulips, hyacinths. Plant them in the biggest container you have—stick some colourful twigs in the pot for height—and enjoy. I set this container of pansies and daffodils right by my front steps, so that on warm mornings I can sit with a cup of tea and breathe in the heavenly viola scent. The pansies will keep going through most of June, and when they finish blooming, the daffodil bulbs will be recycled by being replanted in a sunny garden. Many pots of forced bulbs will come up again next year if planted in the ground after flowering. (Daffodils and hyacinths are the best for this, tulips are less successful.) Spread the garden joy by giving away your bulbs to someone with a sunny garden, in the case of daffodils, or tuck them into your own.

Photos: Helen Battersby

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