Planting bulbs and gathering grand bouquets of colored leaves are the hallmarks of fall and the changing season. Choosing and planting bulbs can be anything from a simple family activity to an extensive plan for an open garden space. Bulbs come in many varieties ranging from tiny Crocus, which are less than 3 inches tall to Parrot Tulips, which are over 3 feet high. Color palettes can be bright with primary colors, or softer with pastels.
For smaller gardens, I plant clumps of like varieties and complimentary combinations with varying heights. For gardens with larger areas, a drift of all one type of bulb – in a single color – is stunning. If the terrain is more open, such as hillsides or woodland gardens, bulbs can be used in bands to replicate the flow of a stream or other patterns.
Bulbs provide a non-stop show from late winter through late spring, depending on how you sequence them. Snow Drops bloom as early as late January and some varieties of Tulips bloom as late as May. Some of my favorite bulbs include: early-blooming ‘Lake of Fire’ Tulip, mid-blooming ‘Naturalizing Dream’ Narcissus and late-blooming ‘Merlin’ Narcissus. The honorable, late blooming ‘Queen of the Night’ Tulip in an aubergine purple is always stunning. Bulbs are extremely hearty and they don’t require a complicated process to plant in an existing garden. If you have young people in the family, involving them in bulb planting is an excellent way to expose them to outdoor education. Write a note of what they planted and watch their realization when the sprigs of green start coming up.
I hope these tips keep you active and motivated to be in your garden space. Feel free to contact me for a consultation if you have questions or need help developing a plan.