It’s the end of summer and I am planning the fall garden. Cooler days will have us planting new perennials and doing some changes in the garden. You would think after 14 years that the garden would be done. I don’t think a garden is ever really done. As we age so does the garden, mature plants may outgrow their space and need to be replaced. Bulbs disappear and need to be replenished for spring colour. Some plants even though perennial are short-lived and only last a few years. I know I can’t be the only gardener that sees a plant in someones garden and realizes I had it too but its gone.
Fall is a time to plan for spring, my favourite season of all. This autumn I hope to plant hundreds of spring bulbs. Last spring I had a beautiful display of Narcissus by the front walk so I am adding more of the same. Tulips and daffodils will be planted everywhere I can find room in the garden. Much of our garden is shaded so bulbs are fabulous in bloom under trees that haven’t leafed out in the spring.
When planting bulbs be sure to shop early for best selection as favourites can sell out quickly. Early blooming bulbs are planted first with Tulips and Narcissus planted in October here on the south coast. I always get asked if you can plant bulbs in winter as often we forget. I have planted as late as January as long as the ground isn’t frozen. What happens with a late bulb planting is it will bloom later in spring but in the following year the flowers will be back on schedule.
People tend to have problems with squirrels digging up their bulbs and that can be frustrating. If you are planting bulbs in containers you may want to plant them a bit deeper and place a protective cover over your pots. I often plant a container of bulbs and top the container with winter colour such as violas, pansies, heathers, ornamental kale and conifers. Your bulbs will push through the soil with ease in the spring. In the ground I plant my bulbs deeper and never lose a tulip. Believe me, we have lots of squirrels with all the trees on the property.
I have a lot of tree roots to deal with in some of the gardens so I tend to plant species Tulips in areas with shallow soil. Species tulip bulbs are tiny but the spring show is fabulous. These tiny gems open up wide on sunny days and close their petals at night. Above is a species called Tulip tarda.
So when choosing your bulbs for the first time, make sure they are firm to the touch and there are no signs of mold on them. Once you have them at home, store them in a cool garage until you plant them. Planting is easy and my rule of them is to plant them three times their size deep. Of course, if squirrels are an issue, plant a couple of inches deeper.
For more info check out my past posts on planting spring bulbs: