Bulb Planting: A Pep Talk for Procrastinators

bag of bulbs I didn’t buy any flower bulbs this fall, but maybe you did. Maybe you bought armloads of them, lured in by the siren song of those pretty pictures on the bulb packages. And maybe many of those bulbs still haven’t gone into the ground. I know all about this, because I used to do the same thing, buying more bulbs than I could plant in a couple of weekends (at least the way I do it). Often I was still planting bulbs into December, which I can easily get away with here in Atlanta. Continue reading

Forcing Bulbs: Tipsy Paperwhites Don’t Fall Over

Photo: Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

A friend of mine always says it wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving without a pot of paperwhite narcissus in bloom. There’s definitely something magical about flower bulbs in general, but at this time of year, paperwhites become almost staggeringly precious for their ability to grow and bloom indoors. Watching a pot of the bulbs progress from day to day is a deep, private pleasure – from the first plump white roots to the lengthening stems, fattening buds, and, finally, the creamy white blooms. A vase of cut flowers, no matter how beautiful, can’t captivate and engage its audience this way. Not even close. Continue reading

Bulb Planting: Two Picks For Soggy Places

Spade and BulbsWhen it comes to planting bulbs, the standard advice has always been to choose a location with well-drained soil. Bulbs like tulips and daffodils tend to rot and die out when they’re planted in a soggy spot.

But if you have a water garden or a generally soggy yard, there are a few options for damp places. The Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center suggests planting certain varieties of fritillarias and camassias near ponds or in places that don’t drain well. Continue reading

Bulbs: Figuring out the Timing for Fall Planting

bulb root growthAt this point in October, bulb planting is probably well underway in many parts of country — some areas are probably expecting their first frost soon. But because I live in the South, and because this has been a very warm fall so far, I’ve barely thought about bulbs yet. We can’t start planting here till it cools off a bit anyway, and it’s often hard to know when exactly is the right time to get bulbs in the ground.

I recently got a packet of information from the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center that gives some general rules about bulb planting, and I thought it was useful enough to share here: Continue reading