The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bulbs for the Bridges

Three sizes of Pots for Three size Bulbs

Joan, Maggi and I pot up the Bulbs

Francie Digs the Trench

Joan and Francie Plant the Bulbs in the Trench for the Winter

Photo credit: Francie Von Mertens

Francie Von Mertens, founder of the Community Garden Project, and her crew have been making the boxes on the bridges in Peterborough beautiful each season for over a dozen years. The summer display is ending and the winter greens will be placed in the boxes by Thanksgiving. But now is the time to plan for next spring.

Bulbs can not survive the changes in temperature that would occur in a pot or a flower box over the winter. They must be fooled into thinking they are planted in the ground. The bulbs are planted in plastic pots and placed in a trench covered with a layer of soil and blanket of leaves for the winter. In April, the pots will be lifted and planted in the 8 flower boxes on the bridges in downtown Peterborough. It sounds like a lot of work, but the pleasure the displays bring in springtime is worth the effort.

The bulbs are not discarded after their bloom has faded. Every year the bulbs are recycled and planted in public places throughout Peterborough. They have found homes in parks, schools and along sidewalks in town. The bulbs are selected to perform well in both situations. This year we chose Narcissus 'Fortissimo', Narcissus 'Thalia' and Muscari armeniacum. Each are long-lived natuarlizers. N. 'Fortissimo' a 18''-20'' large cupped daffodil has an amber-yellow perianth and a reddish-orange cup. It is size and color that can be easily appreciated from a car driving over the bridge. N. 'Thalia' is a circa 1916 and is a elegant 16''-18'' Triandrus daffodil which has pendant white fragrant flowers. Of course no spring display should be without the lovely blue flowers of the grape hyacinth.

As the bulbs slumber throughout the long New Hampshire winter, the citizens of Peterborough anxiously await the harbinger of springtime: the exuberantly plated flower boxes on the bridges in Peterborough.


  1. A thoughtful and generous act, Michael; Peterborough is blessed.

  2. Thanks Faisal. Francie Von Mertens and all her volunteers deserve most of the credit.



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