Originally this job was supposed to be completed before Christmas. There were 300 plus bulbs that needed to be planted once the garden was built. However, Mother Nature disagreed and so the bulbs had to wait. There was also a boxwood hedge to plant along a newly installed walkway. That is if Mother Nature could ever release her icy grip!
The spring garden design was a simple one. Clean the garden area along the driveway, install garden ties, amend the soil and plant the spring bulbs. Simple right? Wrong! Previously there were coniferous trees growing on that side of the property and had been taken down long before my arrival. Their stumps were in the garden bed area and the roots were everywhere. Some had traveled underneath the paved driveway bulging the tarmac upwards. Intertwined with the tree roots grew english ivy…everywhere. I never ever thought there would be something more difficult to remove then english ivy. But I was wrong again. When I originally looked at the job last fall the ground was covered in leaves and did not give a clear picture of the labour that would be involved to beautify the area. And so the work begins. A pic axe was purchased to chop the roots out and a chain saw was used to cut the roots off at the driveway edge. The easiest part of the job was planting the boxwood hedge.
Organic soil was purchased from Milan at HighLine 250-667-1029 located on Brenton-Page Road near Ladysmith. You won’t find a better soil. Milan creates the soil himself from organic matter. The soil is well balanced with sand and rich organic compost. I added bone and blood meal, peat moss to retain moisture and triple steer manure to enhance the growing medium. However, this soil is so rich that you could just plant and grow. I amended it to minimize the work for the garden owner. She is not an avid gardener so this will allow her to have a no fuss garden for a couple years. She will not have to add anything. I planted over 300 bulbs of daffodils, tulips, narcissus and crocus’. I am looking forward to seeing this garden in full bloom this spring. stay tuned for the update in a couple of months.
Warning: If you are using a pic axe or any other equipment for digging or cutting, make sure you know if there are water lines, hydro lines, gas lines or telephone lines in the area!
One of the culprits in my garden stealing bulbs! Squirrels have to eat too…just not my bulbs! 🙂
In total now, we have spent 20 hours doing clean up and planting some spring bulbs. I still have over 100 bulbs to plant which I will get done this week. The snow last week put a temporary hold on planting but I will go forward this week and continue on the clean up and the planting. As I mentioned earlier in a post when you plant bulbs (especially tulips) cover with chicken wire to protect from the critters….squirrels, deer, raccoon, etc… I did not heed my own advice and the robbers came in the night and helped themselves. 🙁 Note to myself to take my own advice. My gardens are up high surrounded by a retaining wall but that did not stop the thieves from coming. So be aware that barriers such as mine are not thief proof!
Even though it is mid December it is still not too late to plant spring bulbs. A trip to Dinter’s Nursery on Saturday…always fun and informative! The sales staff there not only know their stuff but they love gardening too, so it is a chance to share knowledge and learn! I wasn’t disappointed. The purpose was to purchase spring bulbs for planting and to check out what’s new!
Dinter’s still has a large selection of bulbs to choose from as you can see. Although they have lots and lots of tulip bulbs I did not purchase any because the garden owner doesn’t like them. A conversation with the sales lady was golden! She told me that she did not plant her spring bulbs last year until March and all of them bloomed. I was surprised seeing that it was so late in the season. Even though I would not suggest this to you, it is good to know. The bulbs must be in the ground and require a cold snap in order for them to begin their growth. Many bulbs and seeds require a dormancy period (cold weather) before they will begin growing. The sales lady told me that there was a cold snap right after she planted them. I planted the bulbs for my garden owner right away but am happy to know that Mother Nature is negotiable to a point!
When planting bulbs, I often fill in where annuals were the previous season. I purchased several different kinds of bulbs that flower from early (as in February) to late spring (May-June). My goal is to have colour in the garden all year long. I also walk the garden and try to fill in any other areas that are lacking plants or colour. Putting some bulbs in each garden you have will balance out your gardens and you will have more continuity with the flow of colours.
I always amend the soil as I am planting the bulbs. The better food and protection the plant has the better bloomer! So, I dig the hole for each bulb…keeping in mind it should be approximately 3x as deep as the bulb is wide…I also make sure the hole is 2 to 3 x bigger around then the bulb to allow it to sprout when it is ready. The soil I am planting in is clay so I have made it slightly less deep to ensure the soil depth and weight will not impede the growth. Remember…when in doubt, there are basic instructions on each package and you can always ask the sales person where you purchase if you have specific questions. It really is as easy as 1-2-3.
You can be creative and plant in mass or singles. I find it is more pleasing to the eye to plant in threes, fives, or sevens…but that is just me. For colour I chose bulbs shades of yellow – white and purples because I find it is such a visual delight seeing so much colour as the earth is sprouting green.
I always have organic soil, peat moss and mulch on hand in every garden I work in. So, I mix the organic soil and peat moss together. Usually mixing 2 parts peat moss to 4 parts soil. Remember…I am planting in clay so amending the soil is a must for healthy long lasting blooms. Once I have the holes dug, (dig them deeper then you need) I add some amended soil where the bulb will sit and then I place the bulb in the hole, add more soil and top it with mulch. (Patting it down lightly after each addition. The soil will start feeding the bulb almost immediately, the peat moss will help it maintain moisture all year long and the mulch will protect it from the elements, as well as slowly break down and feed the bulb all year long. Then just wait until spring and enjoy the lovely blooms! Happy Planting 🙂