To many gardeners, the autumnal rite of bulb planting is a ritual. Many spring bulbs naturalize well in most North American regions such as galanthus, scillas, crocuses, muscari, daffodils, and most species of tulips, alliums, and anemones.
When buying bulbs choose the largest ones, firm and solid, without nicks from shovels. If you can find daffs with two points – those may send up two flowering stalks. Buy organic. The flowers are brighter, stronger, and more fragrant.
Sloping garden areas, borders between shrubs, wooded spots, and even lawns are appropriate sites. Bulbs will rot in standing water so avoid areas that flood. Start with a dozen bulbs, choose your area and scatter them. Dig holes where they fall. If you want bulbs around a tree, dig a trench and scatter them in it. Don’t plant too thickly, but leave room for natural increases. Mulch lightly. Muscari, the grape hyacinth, looks better in front of daffodils than intermingled.
A six to seven pH is desirable for most bulbs; soil below 5.5 or above 7.3 will cause your bulbs to fail. If soil isn’t well drained or if it’s too hard, consider adding sand or soil rich in organic matter to lighten it.
Plant bulbs pointed-end up, three times as deep as their height from the base. Research found that planting tulips eight rather than six inches deep increases their life span significantly. Plant bulbs, in shade or full sun, before the first hard frost.
Rodents love crocuses, tulips, hyacinths, and blue grape muscari, but scillas, daffodils, and endymion they avoid. If plagued by animals eating the bulbs, try daffodils, alliums, chionodoxa, colchicum, fritillaria, galanthus, muscari, and scilla. The three most familiar bulb types—crocuses for early spring, then daffodils, and tulips assures the longest period of bloom.
A naturalized area gives an aura of carefree grace, an invitation to interact more fully with your garden than merely to observe its floral display. The hardy wood hyacinth or Spanish bluebells make a worthy tulip companion. Its high stalks are laden with bell-shaped blossoms in blue, pink, or white.
Deadhead tulips, daffodils and hyacinths to keep them from forming seed. The energy that goes into making seed will weaken the bulb. Don’t cut leaves until they brown. Bulbs are nourished by aging foliage.
It’s also a good time to plant garlic and onions and spinach, lettuce and kale. Spinach can overwinter in most years and give a healthier crop in spring.
Grape Hyacinths, or Muscari, are bulbs that bloom early in spring. They are sometimes called “lent flowers” or “church steeples.” They are perennial with grapelike flower stalks of blue, purple, white, and yellow. The bulbs spread easily and tolerate very cold weather. They make stunning borders and are one of the plants to choose if deer are a problem. These easy-care bulbs are frequently mass-planted to create a river effect in borders. Leaves will emerge in late summer and persist through the winter, making a nice looking winter border along paths. They are one of the useful bee plants of spring. Perennials zones 4 through 8. To prevent grape hyacinths from self-sowing, remove spent blooms.
The snowdrop shares its symbolism with the carnation, as they are both the birth flower for the month of January.
As the snow in their name suggests, Snowdrops may not even wait for the snow to melt before emerging from their winter sleep and push right up through the snow. The white flowers are usually borne singly, mostly in early spring but sometimes in mid to late winter, which makes them the earliest flowering bulb. Bulbs prefer full sun and a rich well-draining soil. Avoid planting single bulbs, Small groups are best.
Galanthamine (a dream enhancing natural nutrient) is extracted. Other plants include the red spider lily (Lycoris radiata) and daffodil. Galanthamine is an approved natural herbal extract and a key ingredient in Brilliant Dreams.