Autumn is upon us (almost) and so now is a good time to start thinking about what bulbs if any you would like to see blooming in your garden next spring and summer. During this time of year, we often plant many of our die hard favorites such as hyacinths, crocus, narcissus and tulips but there are more unique varieties that can be planted in the fall to brighten up your garden next year.
Bulbs that are planted in the fall, use the cooler months to develop their root systems and prepare them for a spring or summer bloom cycle. Here in New England, a good time to plant is mid-late October so that they will have some time to get established before the ground freezes. When purchasing bulbs, make sure you buy them from a reputable supplier or nursery and plant them as soon as you get them.
When planting bulbs, select a site with lots of sun and well-drained soil. Work a few inches of compost in the soil and plant at a depth of three times the width of the bulb. After planting, apply a low nitrogen fertilizer. If your soil’s sandy, plant bulbs slightly deeper; in clay soils, slightly shallower. Water the bulbs well after planting and apply mulch to keep the weeds down and hold in moisture. If you happen to have issues with rodents eating your bulbs you can either plant bulbs that they don’t like or plant your bulbs in wire cages that they cannot get into.
There is no general rule of thumb as to how many bulbs to plant or what order to place them in around your garden. You can intermingle bulbs and plant at random locations or create a beautiful blanket of one variety by planting many of the same type in one particular location. Either way, spring and summer flowering bulbs are a great way to brighten up your yard…so start planning now and you’ll be ready once October rolls around.
Frittilary: Rock gardens, woodland gardens and borders (mid-spring) (Shown above)
Glory of the Snow: Rock gardens, raised beds, under shrubs (spring)
Allium: Great cut flower (late-spring, early-summer)
Snowflake: Naturalizes well (Spring)
Spring Starflower: Fragrant (Spring)
Star of Bethlehem: (Spring to Summer)
Striped Squill: Makes an attractive edging (Spring)
Siberian Iris: Excellent cut flower (Early Spring to mid-summer)