Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bulbs..............they are easier than you think!!

Usually at this time of the year, as I am prepping my garden for fall, I wander into my garden room and find bulbs that I have tucked away.  Last year I went to Clyburn Arboretum (a must see if you re into the beauty that surrounds you!!) in Baltimore and happened upon their bulb sale.  The tulip and daffodil display that dotted the landscape was phenomenal, so I had to purchase some bulbs to support their ongoing educational opportunities.

Although the tags have now faded, so exactly what cultivars I have, well I am not quite sure - but most are still firm and some even have bulb-lets......

As with most gardeners, early Spring got away from me and therefore, I did not store them properly...however 98% survival is not bad.

So let's talk about how simple it is to have an outstanding bulb display in your garden.  If you have bulbs from last season and they were stored in a clean and dry spot you are fortunate.  Improper storage of bulbs can lead to rotting and sometimes total disintegration.  Nothing like thinking that a package of bulbs is viable when there is merely a shell with nothing inside.  Gently squeeze any bulbs for firmness.  If all is lost there are many resources where fresh bulbs can be purchased.  If you mail order, use reputable resources for quality bulbs.  I highly recommend Brent and Becky's for mail order.  Don't forget your local small garden centers, without our support, they will surely disappear.

Deciding where you will plant the bulbs is your next most important step. On the back of packaged bulbs there is usually a guide to tell what lighting is needed, how deep, soil requirements, bloom time, etc.  These are written to ensure optimum growth and bloom.

I had my heart set on the taller snowdrops.  The botanical name is Leucojum aestivum. I purchased these at my local garden center Ginkgo Gardens on Capitol Hill. I have also ordered some but I believe in supporting local first.  Considered o be Giant Snowdrops, these bulbs have many of the attributes that I was looking for - they naturalize, deer resistant, late blooming, 14 - 16 inches tall, great for containers and great for rock gardens.

They are recommended to be planted at 5 inches deep and 12 bulbs per square foot.  These bulbs , also known as Summer Snowflakes require well drained soil, full sun to partial shade and definitely should be considered a must have for the garden.  The smaller, earlier blooming snowflakes - Galanthus Nivalis - are sometimes missed due to snowfall depth  or just too cold to linger in the garden to notice them.

Fall is also the right time to plant summer bulbs like lilies.  I marveled at a friend's tree lillies offered by Breck's. Mary Alice gifted me with a box this year and I will be putting them in as soon as possible.  These tree lillies stand taller than me and I am five foot, eight inches tall.  They are healthy and when they bloom, simply light up the garden.  Once again, the packaging inside gave me all the information that I need to ensure optimum success.  My box included red, purple, white and a golden yellow with names like Satisfaction and Garden Treasure..  Yes I am just too excited about the possibilities of them in next year's garden.

So I suggest that while you are looking at the gaps in your garden or remembering all the fantabulous bulb displays of last Spring,, think about planting some bulbs.  YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID!!!

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