Gardening with Allen

Plant Bulbs Now for Spring Color

Question: I want to make a bigger impact with spring bulbs in my landscape next spring. Could you give me some pointers on landscaping with bulbs?

Answer: It takes some planning and preparation to get the most impact from spring flowering bulbs. In some cases, bulbs can have their best impact in areas where we might not even think of planting them.

First, I would suggest you survey your yard from both the inside and outside. Where are spots that you see every time you go in or out your door? What areas do you notice most when you look out your windows? Some spots as small as 3 or 4 feet square may be an ideal location for a group of bulbs.

Existing beds planted with annual or perennial flowers are ideal locations. Bulbs can be planted in pockets among perennial flowers. They can be planted in your annual flower beds. As soon as annuals quit blooming, yank them out. You don’t have to wait until frost kills them.

One of the best places to add bulbs in under existing ground cover plantings. Just dig holes at 4 or 5 inch intervals and insert bulbs.

Don’t limit yourself to areas where there are existing beds. Create a new bed in front of a group of shrubs.

Bulbs have the greatest impact where they are planted clusters of at least 5 bulbs. Avoid single row plantings. Plantings of a single color or two colors look better than mixtures of color.

Invest a little money for multiple year impact. Since bulbs last several years, you can afford to spend more than you would for annuals. Buy the biggest bulbs you can find. Larger bulbs give more and bigger flowers. Full service nurseries and garden stores usually have the largest bulbs and the widest selection.

Daffodils are the most dependable and easily grown of any bulb. They are the most resistant to all kinds of pests and multiply in numbers from year to year. I particularly like “Tete A Tete” and other miniature varieties for close up viewing.

For earliest bloom, you can’t beat crocus. Tall, majestic tulips are often the backbone of the landscape. If you have trouble with wind, plant some of the shorter tulips.

Hyacinths have the strongest fragrance of almost any flower. Plant them in areas where you get close enough to smell them.

 

You can plant bulbs now and clear through December. For best selection, purchase your bulbs early. Next spring you will be patting yourself on the back for your effort this fall.

 

 

 

 

 

Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture. Additional gardening information is available on his web site: naturalpruningnw.com under "how to guide". A monthly email garden newsletter can also be signed up for on this site or by sending a request to allenw98663@yahoo.com.

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