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 Buying & Planting 

red and white tulips


 Bulbs are amazing storage tanks - storing all the nutrients that help the plants survive their dormant period and then create glorious blooms.


Tubers : like Begonias, Lilies and  Dahlias 

True bulbs: Hyacinths, Tulips, Allium and Daffodils

- Corms: Crocosmia, Acidanthera, Gladiola, Crocus

Rhizomes: Iris

Tuber Sketches

Left: Lilies, Dahlia

Middle:Ginger, Jerusalem Artichoke

Right: potato

tuber sketches

Below: True bulb: Tulip, Hyacinth, Daffodil, Onion

true bulb sketch


Crocosmia, Crocus, Gladiola

with little cormels on the bottom

corm sketch

Rhizome: Iris

Iris rhizome sketch

The planting-depth chart below is from Sloat Garden Centre

bulb planting depth chart

Can you imagine this Tulip Festival in Oregon?  

What a stunning display !

Field of red and yellow tulips


- FALL - bulbs are in their dormant stage - buy Tulips (and plant them any time up to just before the ground freezes),

Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinth, Allium - plant by the end of September or early October to give them a chance to set root.

Hyacinth and Daffodil



- 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

dwarf purple Iris

- 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 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 or "chicken poop" to prevent squirrels from snacking or relocating, then too off  with daffodils and  crocus as squirrels are not as  fond of them.

  - Plant close together, but not touching - they need room to spread…

This layering method 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......

sparse allium planting

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.

Interplanted with Iris whose spikes leaves will hide brown allium or other bulb dying leaves.

masses of allium and tulips

Imagine how  one or two tulips would look compared to this below from the Ridgeview Garden Centre....you make more work for yourself  if you plant just one bulb in one hole.... put at least 5 or 6 in each instead for a better show.

masses of coloured tulips

Remember Wordswoth's famous  poem about -

a "Host of Golden Daffodils"?

a host of golden daffodils

Plant as  many as 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 bloom stems only and let the leaves lie in the garden - no matter how much you think they are not pretty.... put some mulch over them or plant annuals like Pansies in front.

All the green from the leaves needs to return to the bulb - nutrients for  next season. 

yellow diffs and blue pansies
yellow and white daffodil





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