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Bulb Brilliance: Behind the Scenes of the Breezeway

November 17, 2023

As the leaves fall and winter’s chill sets in, a magical transformation is underway behind the scenes at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). Spring is a season synonymous with renewal, growth, and vibrant blooms. At RBG, spring comes early with the arrival of the beautiful spring bulb Breezeway display in late-winter and early-spring.

Having just completed the planting of over 22,000 bulbs, our indoor horticulturist and her team are orchestrating a breathtaking spectacle. The bulbs are primarily part of the Breezeway display but also are distributed in planters throughout RBG Centre. Kathleen has meticulously chosen a diverse range of bulb varieties, including crocuses, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths to create a dynamic display that captivates the senses. This large number of bulbs requires meticulous preparation and planning.

  • box full of flower bulbs
  • preparing soil, bulbs, and planters
  • 8 tulip bulbs in a round plant container

Bulbs are sorted, soil is mixed, and each container is prepared with a specific number of bulbs based on size and type.

One of the secrets to the RBG’s indoor spring floral display is the process of forcing bulbs. Forcing bulbs is a method of speeding up the natural growth and flowering cycle of bulbs by controlling the conditions in which they are grown. This technique allows the horticulturist to manipulate when the bulbs will bloom, ensuring a breathtaking and coordinated display.

It starts with sorting the bulbs to ensure that they are evenly distributed. Kathleen and her team must then mix and prepare the soil. The soil has to be rich in nutrients and well-drained to ensure that the bulbs grow healthy and strong. Once the bulbs are planted and labelled, the job is far from over. Ideal conditions must be maintained to support the growth and development of the bulbs. They go into the coolers where they can control temperature, light, humidity, and watering.

Bulbs are labelled, recorded, and prepared for storage in the coolers to begin the forcing process.

Come spring, the Breezeway awakens with an explosion of colors—a testament to the dedication and foresight of our horticulturist. When you step into the radiant indoor haven next spring, take a moment to appreciate the artistry of the dedication and planning that goes on behind the scenes that transforms the Breezeway into a celebration of the beauty and resilience of nature.

Browse through for a look at blooms and displays from previous years:

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