Let’s face it. Often spring is a tease. “I’m here! I’m gone! I’m back…wait, not yet!” We are bounced from 60° days to 15° nights in a blink of an eye, so we must savor the outdoors when we can, and provide our own spring cheer inside to remind us of what is to come. If you are at the intersection of Still Winter and Start Planting, here’s a project to lift your heart.
That’s why I enjoy planting a miniature spring garden for my kitchen counter or table. It’s a project that makes me happy and helps me to focus forward. Here, in photos and their captions, is how you can create a spring landscape for your home or to give as a gift.
You need a wide, low container. It could be a pot, or a basket, or a box such as this. If you don’t have a plastic liner, you can use a piece of a plastic garbage bag. Don’t worry about drainage holes. This is a three-to-four week garden and you can water carefully so that the plants are moistened but not drowned. Get four pots of spring flowers and one pot of ivy. Here, from left to right, primrose, ivy, tete-a-tete daffodils, English daisy (Bellis perennis) and blue hyacinths.
First, put a layer of potting soil in the bottom. I only needed two inches, and some of that was moved aside for the deeper potted plants. Once your plants are in place you can fill in the gaps around them with more potting mix.
Put the plants that will grow taller in the center. For me, that is the hyacinths and the mini daffodils. (I might add some sprigs of pussy willows later…) If you take one of your plants out of its pot, and see that the root ball and soil is taller than your container, gently pull some of the soil off the bottom, spreading any roots in that area out wide. That’s what I did with the hyacinths.
Next, put the other two plants on opposite corners, pushing them in gently. Most small pots of ivy have several stems in one pot, so the last step is to pull the group of ivy in half and poke them into the remaining corners.
If you want you can add pussy willows in the center, a tiny birdhouse ornament, or a few clumps of moss.
Water your freshly planted garden just enough to moisten the plants. As the flowers open, poke your finger into the potting mix every day and see if it feels dry. If so, water, but never so much that the plants have to learn to swim! Once the daffodils and hyacinths stop flowering you plant them outside and they will return from year to year. The primrose, maybe, the English daisy? Not unless you move to the UK.
The ivy can be recycled into one of your summer pots or flower boxes.