Our world would be a much happier place if we all planted spring flowering bulbs this autumn. And more of us would do it if planting them were a lot of fun. However, if your timing is off, you have to brave the cold winds, dig many little holes, add the right amount of fertilizer, and plant the bulbs at the proper depth. Moreover, unlike flowering annuals, you have to wait months to reap the colorful, flower rewards. While its hard work, the rewards are really great. Erruptions of color bursting forth from dreary ground warm the heart and provide the strewgnth to plant on a bone-chilling spring day.
Plant away – Go out and do your part for your friends, neighbors and your yard, plant some spring flowering bulbs. There is no need to plant a million of them a few daffodils and tulips will do for a start. But if you get an inspiration while bulb shopping, and I guarantee you will, don’t be afraid to try something new.
Camassia, also called Indian hyacinth, a North American native, produces tall spikes of 1-inch violet flowers above handsome straplike foliage in May. Two years ago, a friend of mine planted them in the ground cover in a part-shade area of her city garden, and they gave her an outstanding repeat performance again this past spring.
Tulips, especially the fancy varieties, don’t rebloom the following season, so many gardeners treat them as annuals. Their large, richly colored blooms make them the stars of the show in the spring garden, so I plant them where the annuals grace the garden in summer and when their time has passed, the spent bulbs go in the compost pile.
“If you have sandy soil and a sunny spot that’s very dry in summer, that’s the place to perennialize tulips,” says heirloom bulb guru Scott Kunst of Old House Gardens. “Choose antique tulips, they were bred to perennialize, and they thrive on neglect.” Spring bulbs are best planted in bunches so they look like bouquets when in bloom. Plant in a circle or a square and plunk a bulb or two in the middle. Tulips planted in straight rows look like little soldiers standing at attention. To extend the season of bloom, I plant both early and late-blooming varieties.