5 Tips for Bulbs in a Beautiful Spring Garden
There is nothing so thrilling as seeing bulbs pop out of the deadest, driest, barest sections of soil in my garden.
Here you are in mid-March, you and the never-ending winter (at least where I live), and you forget about life outside of the Cozy Home and of course, Skiing.
Even your husband and California-living mum ask (gosh bless them): Are all these plants dead now? That is such a shame (from my mum) -or- Does that mean you're going to spend even more money on plants?! (from my hubby).
But with bulbs, you can bend down between the shriveled, brown branches of surrounding plants, and find poking its head out from the desiccated dirt, the start of a bulb to show them, and say: Boooyah! That's why they are called 'perennials' suckas! or at least in your inside voice, you can say that.
First you see an wee arrowhead of thick-padded leaves jostling itself through the icy soil. Then the stalk expands with an even-increasingly expanding bulbous head, ready to explode, with a riot of colour! It's so miraculous! Life from Death! I love NATURE!
And everyone can have this friendly, spring reminder ready to greet you after a few days and weeks of warming sun and longer days. But you have to plan ahead when it comes to planting bulbs., young grasshopper. You can't just whip a few into your frozen garden beds when you see their beauty advertised by garden shops at the end of February. You have to plant them in the fall, before the frost and snow hit the ground.
A few more tips on bulbs:
1. Pick Your Shade - I tend to plant in pinks and purples (as in photos, my front yard last year) as they just scream gorgeousness to me. I've seen spectacular displays in bright sunny colours such as reds, oranges and yellows. Purple and white, and a little bit of yellow, is a classic colour combination that works very well with traditional-looking homes. Pick your shade.
2. Include a Variety of Heights - I like a variety of small- and large-blooms, as well as tall, medium and short heights in a particular shade so that there are different dimensions in the garden.
3. Differing Bloom Times - Not wanting to spend a fortune (wait! too late, I spend all my extra money on flowers) all at once, I tend to buy a bulb or two every season. As we only moved in to this place a year and half ago, and the yard constituted of nothing but long weeds and grasses when we arrived, my first spring here saw only one bulb, that quickly came, and seemed to me, just as quickly left. Now I have a few different types this spring, and find when one dies down (tulips), I still have another type of bulb pop up its lovely head (allium).
4. Plant In Drifts - There is something incredibly stunning about huge swaths of the same bulb type, or colour, making a broad stroke throughout your flower bed. Bulbs do divide and spread slowly as the years progress, but if you have more money than time and want immediate results, you can purchase buckets of bulbs at once to plant. Don't forget however, that you still have to plant all these bulbs once you get home from the nursery!
5. Try Out Native Bulbs* - Being in a remote-ish area, its not easy to find less typical and popular natives so I have been regulated to planting whatever I can in my garden, as my first priority is to make a beautiful garden for my family, pollinators and wildlife. But I am increasingly concerned with the use of non-native (which often become invasive), low-pollinating varietals and, I believe, the corresponding decrease in pollinators around the world. Some native bulbs of North America to choose from: Alliums, Triteleia, Erythronium americanum and Camassia.
(*caveat: never take plants from the wild!)