The importance of being urn-y

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s an on-again, off-again winter-spring thing happening this year. What’s more, the winter weather isn’t just wintery, it’s Antarctic. It may be March, but it has been too cold outside even for cold-hardy pansies or early bulbs.

WinterUrnsSo nice to see something decorative that won’t be destroyed by the sub-zero temps. I’ve noticed a few front urns with birch bark in the neighbourhood. It works.

Curly willow twigs or dogwood branches – the latter now come in red, green, even a lovely shade of coral – are also cold-resistant and colourful. Evergreen boughs, of course.

As the weather warms up, you can pull out the bits showing freezer burn and tuck in some pots of bulbs. A pot or few of white tulips would work with the white bark. You could replace most of the brown pine or evergreen branches with trailing variegated ivy, which also resists a nip of spring cold.

And, of course, you couldn’t go wrong with some white hyacinths to perfume the front entrance.

Once the bulbs have bloomed, pop them into the garden to ripen. Chances are, they’ll bloom for you next year. You might say, they urn their keep.


  1. One of the best things to do is to buy them in pots right now. Keep them watered after they bloom, then plant them in the garden with the soil and roots still attached, just like when you plant an annual.

    This works well with hyacinths, grape hyacinths and daffodils. Not as well with tulips.

    If you plant in the fall, use flat rocks to mark the space you planted them, and to keep the squirrels from easily digging them up.

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