Gardening Guide

107 Bulb Flower Gardening Section


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107 Bulb Flower Gardening Article

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Bulb Flower Gardening

from: Whether you’re new at flower gardening or have been gardening for years, it’s more than likely you’re thinking of using or have used bulbs. Many expert gardeners never fail to include bubs in their gardens because of their hardiness, ease of use, and vibrant colors.

Bulbs have the ability of reliably blooming more than once over many seasons without having to be replanted, and if you plan and plant carefully, you can have those beautiful bulb colors from late winter to June. Bulbs require very little effort after planting and can be grown easily in the garden setting and in containers.

So what are bulbs? They’re basically a nursery for the plant embryo; in this nursery, the plant embryo finds protection and food. Once you plant a bulb in the soil, all you have to do is water it properly, watch it grow, and enjoy the beautiful displays of color as early as February and March!

So…how to choose the right bulbs for your bulb flower gardening experience? Well, first of all, as always, you need to think about what conditions you can offer a growing plant. Once you’ve gotten that homework out of the way, you can now begin to think about what colors you’d like to have in your flower garden and when you’d like your garden to bloom.

Many gardeners recommend tulips because of their enormous variety of colors, ranging literally from white to black. Daffodils are also a good choice, coming in yellow or in combinations of yellow and white. Yet another favorite of the bulb flower gardening community are crocuses, which are white, purple, or yellow. Obviously, you should let your creativity run wild and create combinations of bulbs in order to create enchanting color displays.

Also, again, if you plan carefully, you can have a garden that is in almost constant bloom by planting different varieties of bulbs. Tulips, crocuses, daffodils, snowdrops, and winter aconite bloom in early spring. Grape hyacinth and Grecian windflowers bloom in mid-spring, while lilies and Persian buttercups bloom in early to mid-summer. Amaryllis, begonias, dahlias, eucomis, elephant ears, and caladiums bloom in the summer, while meadow saffron blooms in fall. Those bulbs that bloom in the spring should be planted in the fall, while those that bloom in the summer and fall should be planted in the spring.

Once you’ve decided on what bulbs to plant, it’s time to go to the store and get your bulbs. First of all, bulbs can also be called rhizomes, corms, or tubers, so if you see these labels, it’s safe to consider those bulbs. Always choose the largest and firmest bulbs you can get your hands on; expert gardeners will tell you, “the larger the bulb, the larger the bloom.” Also, mushy bulbs are usually not healthy and will either bloom very poorly or not bloom at all. Most definitely avoid any blooms with cracks or scars, as this, again, is an indication of poor health, and you shouldn’t get any bulbs that are already sprouting roots; these more likely than not will not bloom nicely once they’re put in the ground.

You’ve chosen your bulbs, you’ve checked them over, and you’ve brought them home. Now what? If you’re not ready to plant your bulbs immediately, make sure you store them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, until you are ready to put them in the ground or in their container. Once you are ready to plant, start digging holes which are about three times the diameter of the bulbs you are planting. Now, some gardeners like an organized look and plant their bulbs in perfect rows. If you’re one of these types, you should invest in a bulb planter, a cylindrical shaped tool with a handle that serves to pull out small clumps of earth in a regular and uniform manner. Other bulb flower gardening lovers prefer the wild, natural look and will actually place more than one bulb in a hole, going for the ‘clumped’ look.

Whatever your desired effect, before actually placing the bulbs in their holes, you should make sure to place a small quantity of fertilizer in the hole and sprinkle a thin layer of soil on top of it. Place the bulb in the hole on top of the soil (it should not be place on the fertilizer because the bulb could get damaged) pointed end up and flat side lying on the soil. Fill the planting holes with soil, patting it down and firming it; air pockets should be removed and the bulbs should be secured in place by the soil. Planting conditions for bulbs really should be of top quality as bulbs are permanent editions to your garden.

Voila’! Now you can enjoy the visual masterpiece you’ve helped to plan! But, of course, maintaining that visual display takes some work. One common practice to keep your bulbs healthy and blooming is deadheading. This process involves removing faded flowers in order to spur a plant on to make more flowers. One thing to keep in mind specifically when dealing with bulbs, though, is that the leaves should not be removed until they have started turning brown.

One last note. In warmer climates, you can leave a good number of bulbs in the ground during the winter and this will not damage them. However, in colder climates, bulbs should be removed from the ground before winter and stored in a cool, dry place. Actually, there are even some tender bulbs, like dahlias, that can’t survive the winter even in warmer climates and so need to be removed as well. Again, do your research and be conscious about the needs of the bulbs you choose for your bulb flower gardening experience.