Spring flowering bulbs (not to be confused with summer flowering bulbs) are a great way to add early colour to your garden, patio or balcony each spring.
Late September and early October are the months traditionally associated with planting bulbs. The weather in Squamish has been unseasonably warm of late. If you are purchasing bulbs to get the best selection, remember to store them in a cool, dry place until the weather is consistently cooler. You don’t want to rush planting your bulbs now, only to have them fooled into sprouting with the warm temperatures.
It is always helpful to make a bit of a bulb-planting plan before you plant. It is a great record of where the bulbs are planted in your garden, and next year, you can see what worked and what didn’t.
Here are some basic rules to follow when planting bulbs.
• Go big or go home. Don’t plant small numbers of bulbs. A 10 pack of tulips in a regular-sized garden gets lost easily. Go for quantity, particularly when you use small bulbs like snowdrops.
• Don’t complicate things. There is a vast array of lovely coloured flowers to choose from, but don’t go crazy choosing lots of different colours that will eventually flower together. Your garden will look like a crazy patchwork quilt.
• Don’t plant in rows. Use trenches and scatter.
Bulbs are used to extend the regular planting season from late winter through to early autumn. Try planting them among your perennials so that their dying leaves are hidden by the new growth.
When you go bulb shopping, you will find bulbs classified as late winter and spring flowering, summer and autumn, and then within each season you will find early, midseason and late.
Most bulbs require lots of sun and excellent drainage. If you find your planting area on the shady side, try grape hyacinth, scillia, snowdrops, and “chionodoxa.”
Anemone (or windflower) is another favourite in woodland settings. Fritillaria is a well-kept secret. If you are the kind of gardener who feels they are always fighting with shade, these shade-loving bulbs make ideal choices for difficult areas of the garden.