While everything in our yards and gardens are working their way towards dormancy, now is the perfect time to get going on planning and planting your spring bulb display.
Come April, when there are yards full of tulips and daffodils, we are kicking ourselves for not remembering the prior fall to get our bulbs planted. Spring flowering bulbs are a tricky thing, but the hardest part is just remembering to buy them and plant them in the fall.
Tulips have always been a high priority for me on my planting list, especially yellow ones. These days I can’t seem to get enough of that color that falls somewhere between hot pink and orange — depending on the time of day the tulips even appear different colors from the amount of sunlight.
If you have deer, though, you are going to need to do a bit more planning if you want to be able to enjoy seeing your tulips bloom. Deer love tulips. Out by me they love them at that point where the tulips are right about three days from flowering. I anticipate their opening each day, only to go out one morning to a bunch of flowerless stems. In the case of deer, you will need to invest in something like Liquid Fence to spray the heck out of your plants as they emerge. That or find a fence that deer won’t be able to jump.
If you live in a squirrel infested area, you will also need to take precautions when planting. Tulips are also highly palatable to squirrels, amongst other creatures. You can fashion your own netted cage to plant your tulips inside, or you can look online to find one to purchase that is designed just for that. There are some sprays on the market that can help keep the squirrels from wanting to dig up your bulbs as well.
If you don’t want to go through the hassles of putting up fencing or planting your bulbs in cages, you can plant alliums or daffodils. Both are highly resistant to animal damage and both are beautiful in bloom. I try to plant a mix of bulbs of all different types and colors, but absolutely love the height and globular shape that alliums can give to a landscape.
No matter which variety of bulb you decide to plant, be sure you follow the directions as to how deep you should plant your bulbs. If they are too shallow, once in bloom they may topple over. If they are too deep, they may spend all of their energy trying to emerge and end up with not enough strength to flower. Most bulbs will come with planting instructions, otherwise it is easy to look up generalized instructions.
You can find bulbs for sale at most garden centers as well as online where there are businesses that deal only with bulbs. Pick out your favorites and get planting.
Sacha Burns is an organic gardener and owner of Sunkissed Organics in Pinola. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.