In gardening, plants with other kinds of storage organ are also called “ornamental bulbous plants” or just “bulbs”, of which many grow and flower in springtime. For example daffodil, tupips, crocus, snow drops.
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!
The clean up in my garden has been done for quite some time and I have been slowly planting bulbs. Where ever I would like a splash of spring colour, I have added bulbs. In many places I have done a mass planting of 7 bulbs or more. The bonus is that once they have flowered, I can plant other things there…being careful of course not to disturb the bulbs too much.
It is now time to start planting the vegetables from seed. I am careful to check and make sure of which ones are ready to be planted from seed at this time of year using my planting chart from West Coast Seeds. They have taken the guess work out and also sell non-GMO organic seeds of every kind, including organic heirloom seeds and with over 800 varieties they will have every seed you want. This year alone they have added over 150 new varieties of seeds. Their planting chart also includes zone information for your planting convenience. Their website is a wealth of knowledge and they have retail partners all over Vancouver Island to make it more convenient. So the next time you are out shopping stop at Art Knapps, Buckerfields or Dinter’s….just to mention a few. There are dozens of places island wide to buy their seed or order it online. Whatever is easier. Check their website for more locations. See you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂
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 🙂
It is time to think about planting your spring flowering bulbs now. There are many types and colours to choose from. Just remember to purchase your bulbs at a reputable garden centre or nursery or even a catalog. Remember you get what you pay for. The bulbs must be from good stock in order to have the showy blooms and healthy plants you are looking for. When planting remember to amend the soil and add compost…it will continually feed your plants all year long as it composts down and creates the food for the plants. Plant your bulbs soon after you purchase to ensure the best growth and blooms. Work organic compost and mulch a few inches into the soil before placing your bulbs. I love mass planting of bulbs because they are such show stoppers in the spring. However if you have limited space try and plant in groups of 3 or 5 bulbs. Remember to plant at a depth of approximately 3 x the bulb width. In sandy soils plant slightly deeper and in clay soils plant not quite so deep. Add mulch to the top layer of soil to maintain moisture and control weeds. If you have critters in or around your garden such as squirrels or voles it is a good idea to add a chicken wire cage across the top of the planting area and stake it down with 4 or 5 inch metal stakes that you can purchase at your local garden centre or hardware store. Once you are done planting remember to give the area a good watering and then just wait for spring and let mother nature do her magic! In the spring, once the bulbs have sprouted up, remove the chicken wire cage to allow the plants to grow freely and enjoy!