Cheryl Gross, Advanced Master Gardener, Vice President MGANM
Before a gardener hangs up the trowel for the season, there is time to do one more task for spring blooming… plant bulbs! Spring bulbs can offer a flower in melting snow or cheery color before perennials are up and budding. November is the perfect time to add bulbs to the garden.
Design-wise, cluster bulbs for masses of color. Remember that while we like rainbows in the sky, on the ground a mass of one color has greater impact and visual appeal. Bulbs also come in a wide variety of blossom and bloom time. Look for some early and late bloomers to keep flowers from early into late spring. Because bulbs bloom earlier than perennials you may plant them very close to other plants or add annuals above them when they are spent. The bulb blossoms will be finished just as other plants move to center stage. Remember to retain the bulb greens as they nourish the bulb before doing dormant. Cut back only as they begin to yellow.
As a general rule, large bulbs should be planted 8 inches deep; smaller bulbs 5 inches. Bulbs require well-drained soil. They tend to rot if planted in wet soil. Squirrels also prefer some bulbs (such as tulips) over daffodils. The same with deer. Before you add bulbs to your garden give consideration to the moisture level and check out which rodent or mammal finds bulbs and blossoms tasty and which are dominate in your yard.
Give it a go. Plant some bulbs. Sit back and wait for a spring reward. Like many plants in our gardens, they can be re-arranged and expanded NEXT fall after you evaluate the spring show!