Looks like the official “rodent of predictions” did not see his shadow on Groundhog Day and therefore is anticipating an early spring for 2021. With that we better get training for the upcoming gardening and landscaping season. One of the main questions that Nancy runs into this time of year is “what to do about bulbs?”. No not the kind that light your home, the bulbs that bring your colour to yard come spring and summer.
First of all it is important that you plan your purchases when it comes to bulb buying. Where is it going? What is it going to look like? When will it get planted? The list goes on. Here are Nancy’s top tips in the bulb buying process.
The ordering process does involve some pre-planning. If you are looking at Spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils or irises, they need to be in the ground in the fall prior to blooming. Example buying schedule – ordered in August 2021, planted in late fall 2021 (before freezing) and blooming in the spring of 2022. Whereas a Summer bulb, often more fragile and finicky, this is referring to flowers like lilies, dahlias or elephant ears. This bulb needs to be in the ground once the soil is no longer frozen in the spring, therefore the buying schedule for those – ordered in March 2021, planted in May 2021(depending on temperatures) and blooming by summer and early fall 2021.
Where are they being planted? Helps to be in developed garden beds filling space between shrubs, clustered in formal gardens for impact or scattered to create more of a meadow style. Generally it is recommended to avoid having an area or bed solely a single bulb, as pre- and post- blooming it will be quite boring. Mixed in with established perennials is the way to go.
Do you know your growing zone? This is the one of the indexes used to identify what plants work best in your area according to a variety of external factors (climate, soil, water etc.). Depending on your zone, your bulbs will need to be planted at certain times of the year, google is your friend in this!
From there you can look at colour and height. Rule of thumb is to layer the heights of plants from the front of the garden to the back in order to be able to see and enjoy them in one view. As for colour, bulbs can provide a brightness that perennials may not, at the same time they need to work well with their surrounding plant friends, and not stick out like an arrogant fire hydrant. Coordination is key.
Like many things in life, when it comes to bulbs, you are paying for quality. So don’t try to be pennywise and pound foolish. Your gardens come spring and summer will show it.
Looking for more information on bulbs? Keep up with the Bulb Blogs. Nancy Robertson, partner at Robertson Kadwell, is our resident gardener and landscape expert. Over the Spring we will provide you with all her tips and tricks when it comes to planting bulbs in your garden. Bulbs not your thing? Let us know what else you would like to learn about to maintain and expand your gardens.