Nothing announces spring with as much color and life as the early blooms of crocus, the brilliant trumpets of daffodils and the elegance of tulips. Spring-flowering bulbs of all kinds are an important part of maintaining year-round color in any garden, and now is the season to begin or expand your plantings.
PLANNING THE BULB DISPLAY
It’s important to check the different blooming times of bulbs.. Tulips, for instance, can be broken into as many as five or six periods periods ranging over several months.
Mixing purple giant crocus and white mid-season tulips for instance, and then expecting them to bloom together can be disappointing. On the other hand, mixing early and late varieties in your plan greatly extends your blooming season.
Besides keeping shorter growing kinds in front, avoid mixing plants with extremely different heights to maintain a balanced look. Also very tall varieties should be avoided in windy areas to prevent damage to the blooms and stems.
Another consideration in planning is the possibility of damage by rodents. Moles and ground squirrels (chipmunks) love to discover a bed of tulips and can virtually destroy your display before you get to enjoy it. Daffodils, on the other hand, are poisonous to rodents and will not be bothered. If your location is likely to attract these underground feeders, either protect the bulbs in baskets or stick with the variety’s they won’t eat.
A final thought on planning bulb displays is maintenance!
Tulips must be dug up and separated at least once every several years or they will decline and produce fewer and fewer flowers.. Daffodils can continue to multiply and produce excellent displays without being replanted. This feature makes daffodils and narcissi popular for naturalizing. Another maintenance note is that the bulbs draw their nutrients for the following year largely from the dying foliage, which, must be left in place until it completely withers. This is an especially important factor in rotating mass plantings.