Fall Bulbs:Spring-flowering bulbs bloom in March, April, and May; and must be planted in the fall.
They are popular because they are the first harbingers of spring time, and provide the spring garden with colour and variety. There are so many different bulbs with as many colours and heights that combinations are endless. Due to the large variation in blossoming periods, one can enjoy flowering bulbs for many months.
Best results are obtained by taking into consideration heights, colour combinations and flowering periods. It is preferable to plant the bulbs in small groups, but to avoid circles or squares, in order to obtain as natural an effect as possible. Gardens may be provided with long periods of colour by planting different bulbs together which have varying flowering times. Examples to try are combinations of low-growing Crocuses with late flowering Tulips, Scilla with early flowering tulips, or Daffodils with Darwin Tulips.
Spring bulb applications:
Annuals are combined with bulbs to fill in areas where bulbs have finished blooming. Some plants (such as violets and pansies) are planted at the same time as spring bulbs. Others are added later.
Many spring bulbs are ideally suited for naturalizing, and they provide the garden with a "natural" look when planted in the grass, around trees or under shrubs. Low-growing Daffodils, Crocuses, Snowdrops, and Scillas are very suitable for naturalizing. Taller-growing bulbous plants such as Trumpet Daffodils can best be combined with others. When planting near trees or among rocks, always use at least six bulbs. If planting bulbs in grass, consideration should be given to the fact that mowing should not be done until the flowers and leaves have withered.
Among ground covers
Flower bulbs are well suited for planting among ground covers. The roots of flower bulbs sit deeper and therefore don't rob the ground cover of food. Moreover, once the flowers have finished blooming, the ground cover ensures an attractive garden.
Many kinds of spring bulbs are suitable for indoor forcing, enabling them to blossom in the winter. There are special bulbs such as the Amaryllis and the Paper White Narcissus perfect for providing fragrance and colour during the long winter days.
Other species such as hyacinth, tulip, daffodil and crocus first need a cold period to be able to come to bloom. Please refer to our Indoor Forcing of Flower Bulbs section.
By leaving the flower bulbs in the ground after they blossom, most spring bulbs will bloom again the following year.
It is important to cut the flowers off after they have finished blooming, but leave as many leaves as possible on the stem. Cease watering after flowering is finished to allow the leaves to dry out and die naturally. The plant will receive sufficient storage food to recharge the bulb underground. It will then bloom again the following spring.
After the flowering period
After the flowering period, the choice is leaving the bulbs in the ground or digging them up.By leaving them in the ground a sort of naturalizing takes place. Planting some additional bulbs in the area will create a splendid effect. You can also dig up the flower bulbs and plant something different the following season. To be able to use these bulbs another time, they should be dug up only when the leaves have completely died. Remove the soil from the bulbs and save them until fall in a dry, well ventilated place.
In very cold climates, sprouting bulbs can be damaged by extreme weather and by sudden Chinooks. If the bulbs are starting to sprout in December or January, it's wise to cover them with a layer of soil, peat or leaves.
Mulching bulbs in the fall with straw or dry leaves helps prevent them from sprouting too early. If it starts to get warmer more quickly than normal, the bulbs' flowering time may also begin earlier; so you should be prepared to cover them with sheets or burlap if a frost is forecast.
Bulb Dust is helpful in preventing either soil insects or disease from damaging bulbs. Gopher or squirrel problems (they use garden bulbs as a food source) can be deterred by sprinkling blood meal on top of the soil where bulbs are planted.