Think Ahead to Spring

Yellow Daffodil Close Up

Spring blooming bulbs are available for sale in stores and nurseries this month. The time to plant them is (drum roll, please!) right away. With the soil still warm and moisture in the forecast, roots will begin to develop quickly and the plants will be strong and healthy for beautiful bloom in the spring.

We all know and love daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. You can never have too many. But what about “minor” bulbs?

Here are a few of my favorites. Check bulb catalogs and displays for some more tiny bulbs with unusual names that produce really choice flowers.

  • Snowdrops (Galanthus) ring in the New Year at my house. Planted in a partly shady place, they’ve popped out in the same spot for over thirty years, with lovely nodding bells of white.

  • Crocus come into bloom next, available in purples, yellows, and whites to add color. Plant them around the legs of shrubs and in nice clusters in front of the daffodils.

  • Grape Hyacinth (Muscari) add grape like clusters of purple with grassy leaves that come up in the fall to mark the spot. They do tend to not only naturalize but increase vigorously over time, but it’s easy to forgive them when they bloom.

All three of these can be happy in sun or partial shade, and will be with you for years, waiting patiently underground for another spring. As will daffodils. I have some that were originally planted shortly after WWII, and have been moved several times since. They bloom faithfully.

Tulips and hyacinths may be more short-lived. They need fertile soil, sunshine, and dry summers. Plant them where you don’t water during the summer, or dig the bulbs after the foliage dies down and replant in the fall.

For all bulb plantings, loosen the soil well, add compost or fertilizer, plant the bulbs down about three times their height, and water in well. Then just sit back, enjoy your winter and watch for happy color before you even know spring is here.

Happy Gardening,

Karen Brown

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