September- the days are shorter and nights are cooler. Now is the time to shop for and plant bulbs for spring colour in your garden.
When shopping, look for bulbs that are plump and firm. Avoid bulbs that appear soft, mushy or are moldy. Plant the bulbs in a well-drained, full-sun (at least 6 hours of sunlight) location. This can be under a deciduous tree as bulbs will bloom before your tree develops leaves. Dig your holes 2-3 times deeper than the height of the bulb (or follow package directions). A 3-inch tall bulb should be planted 6-9 inches deep. Add compost to your holes to add nutrition for the bulbs. Plant the pointed end of the bulb facing upwards, or if you don’t see a pointed end, look for roots and place that end downwards. Cover with soil and water to remove air pockets and help the roots establish. Mulching with compost or wood chips will give some winter protection. The roots will form in the fall and then in the spring your bulbs will appear!
These are some of my favourites:
Scilla siberica (Squill) – a word of caution – these are vigorous self-seeders so deadhead after blooming!
Fritillaria meleagris (Snake's Head Fritillary)
Tulipa tarda – a species of tulip that only grows 4 inches tall
Tulipa 'Don Quixote' with Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)
-Nancy Hanson, SHS President