All Posts   Posted:   September 21, 2016 by Nicole Forbes - Education Director

Having a cheery landscape full of early spring-blooming bulbs requires some forethought. Fall is the season to add these vernal beauties to the garden or, even better, tuck then into containers; they will spend the winter growing roots and then emerge in late winter or spring with an explosion of color and delicate blossoms just at the time when we need it the most. Bulbs have arrived at our garden centers and although October is the best month for planting them – the largest selection, including new varieties, can be found now.

In the Netherlands, in 1634, a collector paid 1,000 pounds of cheese, four oxen, eight pigs, 12 sheep, a bed, and a suit of clothes for a single tulip bulb! Although prices have become much more reasonable & affordable, I feel like royalty when my yard is full of colorful crocus, tulips, daffodils & more. The hope and joy I experience when I see the first flowering bulbs break the soil’s surface it makes winter fade away and I know I’ve made it to spring.

Planting bulbs is easy and fun (ok, it is easy) and you will love the results; if you can dig a hole, you can plant a bulb!

Here are a few tips to successfully plant bulbs:

  • Bulbs need good drainage; avoid spots where water collects in the winter…
  • Most bulbs prefer full sun; just humor them and plant them where if the sun were ‘shining’ they would be in it – not under decks, shaded by evergreen tree canopy, or other typically shady spots.
  • Bulb depth for planting is generally 2-3 times as deep as the bulb is wide; a crocus bulb is pretty small and should be planted about 3 to 4 inches deep whereas a daffodil bulb is larger and should be about 6 to 8 inches deep
  • If planting in containers, allow for at least 3 layers of bulbs at different depths to create a continuous cycle of color as the different flowers bloom in sequence; really cram them in there – it’ll be totally worth it.
  • If planting in the ground, resist the temptation to plant one bulb per hole in long straight rows and instead dig large shallow holes (12-18” diam) and fill with multiples; either all one variety or a blend of colors or bloom times; add bone meal at planting time to help establish a strong root system
  • The idea of a color pattern sounds really cool but rarely delivers the desired results; choose colors that are complimentary or contrasting but plant in masses allowing the colors to appear more random and therefore natural.
  • Or take the guess work out by planting prepackaged combinations that have been selected in complimentary colors and heights that bloom in unison; plant this package together and look like a pro when things bloom! One of my favorites is called Apricot Sunset Blends: crocus, hyacinths & tulips in delicious sherbet hues.
  • Many bulbs are a bit tired after they finish flowering; plan for this by planting a perennial that grows to cover up the bulb’s fading foliage

If you have coveted your neighbor’s tulips or wished for more daffodils, this is your time! Come to our Saturday class: Fall bulbs bring Spring Flowers for more bulb inspiration and ideas.

Having a cheery landscape full of early spring-blooming bulbs requires some forethought. Fall is the season to add these vernal beauties to the garden or, even better, tuck then into containers; they will spend the winter growing roots and then emerge in late winter or spring with an explosion of color and delicate blossoms just at the time when we need it the most. Bulbs have arrived at our garden centers and although October is the best month for planting them – the largest selection, including new varieties, can be found now.

In the Netherlands, in 1634, a collector paid 1,000 pounds of cheese, four oxen, eight pigs, 12 sheep, a bed, and a suit of clothes for a single tulip bulb! Although prices have become much more reasonable & affordable, I feel like royalty when my yard is full of colorful crocus, tulips, daffodils & more. The hope and joy I experience when I see the first flowering bulbs break the soil’s surface it makes winter fade away and I know I’ve made it to spring.

Planting bulbs is easy and fun (ok, it is easy) and you will love the results; if you can dig a hole, you can plant a bulb!

Here are a few tips to successfully plant bulbs:

  • Bulbs need good drainage; avoid spots where water collects in the winter…
  • Most bulbs prefer full sun; just humor them and plant them where if the sun were ‘shining’ they would be in it – not under decks, shaded by evergreen tree canopy, or other typically shady spots.
  • Bulb depth for planting is generally 2-3 times as deep as the bulb is wide; a crocus bulb is pretty small and should be planted about 3 to 4 inches deep whereas a daffodil bulb is larger and should be about 6 to 8 inches deep
  • If planting in containers, allow for at least 3 layers of bulbs at different depths to create a continuous cycle of color as the different flowers bloom in sequence; really cram them in there – it’ll be totally worth it.
  • If planting in the ground, resist the temptation to plant one bulb per hole in long straight rows and instead dig large shallow holes (12-18” diam) and fill with multiples; either all one variety or a blend of colors or bloom times; add bone meal at planting time to help establish a strong root system
  • The idea of a color pattern sounds really cool but rarely delivers the desired results; choose colors that are complimentary or contrasting but plant in masses allowing the colors to appear more random and therefore natural.
  • Or take the guess work out by planting prepackaged combinations that have been selected in complimentary colors and heights that bloom in unison; plant this package together and look like a pro when things bloom! One of my favorites is called Apricot Sunset Blends: crocus, hyacinths & tulips in delicious sherbet hues.
  • Many bulbs are a bit tired after they finish flowering; plan for this by planting a perennial that grows to cover up the bulb’s fading foliage

If you have coveted your neighbor’s tulips or wished for more daffodils, this is your time! Come to our Saturday class: Fall bulbs bring Spring Flowers for more bulb inspiration and ideas.