Everything you need to know about buying and planting bulbs

But first, speaking of bulbs, you might be interested to know about the 140-year Dutch-Canadian Friendship bulb gardens.... - planting in 2015, for blooms in 2016.

Next year - 2017 - is Canada's 150th anniversary and many of us are planting red and white Tulips. There are several special tulips developed for this that are both red and white in the same flower... watch for them; better still, plant some - no, plants lots.

NOW - Back to Bulbs.....


 Actually, bulbs are amazing storage tanks - they store the nutrients that  help the plants survive their dormant period and then, when growing and blooming, they also provide needed nutrients.


Tubers : like Begonias, Lilies and  Dahlias 

True bulbs: Hyacinths, Tulips, Allium and Daffodils

- Corms: Crocosmia, Acidanthera, Gladiola, Crocus

Rhizomes: Iris

The chart below is from Sloat Garden Centre

Can you imagine this Tulip Festival in Oregon?  

What a stunning display !


- Fall - when they are in dormant stage - buy Tulips (and plant them any time before the ground freezes), Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinth, Allium-plant before the end of September to give them a chance to set root.



- RHIZOMES - on the surface

- CROCUS, BEGONIA, LILIES -Close to the surface

   (1 to 2 inches below) 


-  Down 4 to 5 inches 

- TULIPS - Deeper - 6-7 inches

- HYACINTH - Deepest - 7-8 inches 

Dwarf Iris - See below

- Although all bulbs will eventually grow up, please plant them with their tips up and flat side down so they don’t waste energy trying to grow up when planted down.

- Rhizomes (Iris) like to be planted close to the surface of the soil with their roots facing down.  If planted too deeply, covering the whole rhizome, will slow down or thwart their bloom.

- I like to dig a larger hole about 8 to 10 inches deep and put my Hyacinth in first… a layer of soil - then Tulips with a sprinkling of some blood meal to prevent squirrels from snacking or relocating, then daffodils and then crocus, neither of which squirrels are particularly fond.

  - Make sure they planted close together, but not touching - they will need room to spread…

This method, however, requires a bit of planning so this large and showy clump does not all grow in one big heap together…. it will make a magnificent showing when spread out so they each have room, but at the same time, create a large grouping.

Here is what just a few Allium look like......

But look below....What a difference!  Most of us cannot afford this large show, so start with as many as your budget will allow this year, and add a few more each year and set them into the garden behind other perennials so they don't look lost like mine do above.

Mine could have been planted closer together and more Iris planted around them.  The Iris spikes will hide the brown Allium leaves later.

Imagine how  one or two tulips would look compared to this from the Ridgeview Garden Centre.....If you choose to plant just one in each hole, you make a lot of work for yourself if you have more than a dozen bulbs…. ...that's 12 bulbs, 12 holes…. eek.

Remember Wordswoth's famous  poem about -

a "Host of Golden Daffodils"?

Plant what you can afford in clumps and let them naturalize.  In a few short years, they will form what Gertrude Jekyll called " a drift" of colour. 

When the blooms are spent, cut back the stems only and let the leaves lie in the garden - no matter how much you think they are not pretty.... 

The green needs to return to the bulb to give it nutrients for the next season. 

This is the time to fill in the spaces with fresh annuals,  unless you have really planned ahead and planted some perennials last fall to cover the sight of the fallen leaves.