Planting Flower Bulbs



Flower Bulbs

Garden Tools

Planting flower bulbs is like cooking a delicious meal. Before you can serve your awesome plates with your creation you have to carry out a lot of preparations. In order to surprise friends with your ‘culinary’ creation, I will give you some tips.

Making your Choice

It all starts with making a shopping list. Your ‘dinner’ should be varied and balanced. Images in bulb catalogues are like recipe books and can offer you some beautiful bulb combinations. Are you looking for daring combinations or should your planting be more sophisticated? The nice thing about planting bulbs is that you can change your display every year. In the Long Border here in Viller we are going next year for just one combination. Tulipa Spring Green with Forget me not’s. Or to say it with other words: only a main dish. If you prefer three-course meal you can plant snowdrops as a starter, daffodils as a main course and late flowering tulips as a desert.

Three hundred flower bulbs of Tulipa ‘Sping Green’ are waiting to be planted
Photograph by Frank Fritschy

Order your Bulbs well in advance

Shopping and cooking on the same day can be very risky because some of your ingredients can be temporarily sold out.  I ordered my bulbs in October which is pretty late. As a result, I had to surf an hour on the internet to find the last 15 Camassia leichtlinii.  Order in August and you won’t be disappointed.

“Bulbs are like batteries. They are completely charged by the bulb grower”

Storing your Bulbs

The best way is to plant your bulbs right away. If you are not able to plant them immediately you have to take your bulbs out of your parcel and store them cool and dry. In humid conditions, they can easily develop mould. Plant your bulbs not later than 6 weeks before frost sets in but I have to admit that I planted some in December with fine results.

Flower bulbs of Allium sphaerocephalon

Photograph by Frank Fritschy

Your Soil

You don’ t have to worry about your soil. Only a wet soaked soil can cause a problem. Bulbs are like batteries. They are completely charged by the bulb grower. If you renew your planting every year you will never be disappointed. If you prefer to leave your bulbs in the soil you have to feed them with manure and a fertilizer but even than blooming flowers are not guaranteed. There are (mostly small) bulbs which are able to naturalize in your garden like snowdrops, crocuses and some early tulips.

Planting flower bulbs in used plastic  containers to protect them from mice

Planting in Containers

It is safe to plant your bulbs in containers to protect them from mice and other small rodents. You can use all your leftover containers from your perennials. In small-sized containers, I put just one bulb but in a large one, you can easily plant 5 or even 7.  Thus you can make all the combinations you want. The most important thing is not to plant them in a stiff row.

Daffodil bulbs are poisonous to rodents so they leave them alone. You can plant them with an ordinary quality bulb planter like the Gardena which I use already a few years in a row. The handle to release the soil is very handy (see pictures below). The Garland planter releases its soil by pushing the red knob in the middle.  In meadows, you can use a long-handled bulb planter. Although I own a beautiful Burgon and Ball planter I cannot recommend it.  On heavy clay soil, you have to sit on your knees to remove the soil plug. To do the job in an upright position it is better to use a planter with the same kind of handle as the Gardena like that from crest (see pictures below) or the pro plugger which they sell in the states. Keep in mind that these long handle bulb planters are working best in sandy or compost-like soil. When using these planters on moist clay or rocky soil all plugs get struck in this garden tool.

Sit and Wait

Cover your bulbs with soil and try to make a plain surface is like setting the table. Your work is done and nature is going to cook your meal. Just sit and wait and watch a miracle to take shape. Enjoy your meal!

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