September is a busy month as we think about planning for spring colour. It’s a good time to start choosing your spring bulbs or transplanting new perennials to the garden. Spring is one of my favourite seasons with new life emerging from the soil. Last spring I made notes where the garden lacked spring colour. I hope to plant hundreds of bulbs to add a well needed burst of colour to the garden. After the long days of winter, spring bulbs are always a welcome sight and I am never sorry I splurged on them. They are worth every penny.
Choosing bulbs carefully is important. You want to check the bulbs to make sure they are firm to the touch. If they are soft and squishy they won’t grow. Check each bulb for signs of mould which is often a grey-green dust like coating on the outside of the bulb. Avoid any diseased bulbs as they will infect healthy bulbs planted next to them. Buy bulbs early for the best selection.
Shop around for the best prices. You can buy daffodils and tulips in bulk for relatively low prices. If you simply have to have a specialty bulb, you will pay for more for it. Plant it where you will see it everyday, not in some out-of-the-way spot.
Beware of bulk bins of bulbs. You may get a bulb you didn’t want as customers may return an unwanted choice in the wrong box. Of course, that errant bulb might be a very interesting plant but not match with the design you had planned. Each year try something new. I love the species tulips as they are early to bloom and open during the day and close at night.
Store your bulbs in a cool dry place when you get them home if you are not ready to plant. Plant your early blooming bulbs in September and later bulbs in October. For example, Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ blooms here in February so it should be planted in September. If you are planting mid to late-blooming tulips, plant them in October.
If you are planting your bulbs in the ground, decide ahead of time where you want them and plant one area at a time. I like to dig the planting holes for my bulbs all at once, fill them with bulbs and go back later to cover them up. All you need is one interruption while planting and you will find yourself looking at the ground wondering if you planted there. Don’t forget to add some spring bulbs to your fall containers for extra colour by your front door.