Before all the foliage in your beautiful gardens die back, take the time to note where you want to plant spring flowering bulbs. A little spray of latex paint on top of your mulch or soil will mark the spot until it's time to plant.
You may want to plant where the dying foliage doesn't show as much: Where other plants will fill in around them (hostas for example), towards the back of the border, or in a wooded area.
Many catalogs have pictures of naturalized spring bulbs. Naturalized can mean different things. It may mean you plant a bulb and it reproduces & develops into a colony of flowers. It may mean you plant in such a way it will look like they came up of their own accord.
The problem with naturalized looking spring bulbs, you must wait until the leaves die back of their own accord. If you've planted them in lawn grass, that grass will be way past needing mowed before they die back. Cutting the foliage back or tied into those cute little bundles will not allow the plant to absorb the nutrients for next year's flowers. The leaves need light until they have finished this process.
The flowering of spring bulbs can be extended into several months by choosing varieties with different bloom times. Some bloom so early, they often come up in the snow.
There are many heights, many uses, many forms, some fragrant, all can be used in vases and in many colors.
Here are some thing s to ponder:
Color palates: All one color, different shades of one color, all pastel, wildly bright like Warhol, two colors or three, patriotic, or an artist's garden like Monet.
Size or form: Fringed, doubles, tall, short, branched, parrots, and heirloom.
Flowers: Mixing different spring flowering species can complement each other.
Cost: The best way to figure cost is divide the number of bulbs by the cost per bag. Figure if the plant is short-lived or long. Does it make new bulbs? What is the cost for the enjoyment each bulb will bring to you? (This is like trying to put a cost on love.)
Cost vs. quality: Cheaper bulbs are typically smaller. This doesn't mean bad. It means they may be smaller flowers until they grow larger over several years. It may mean they have a few duds. It may mean they have a wrong color code. They may not live as long. For most of us it simply means a bargain.
I've also enjoyed heirloom bulbs. They have a history that appeals to me in my old farmhouse yard.
Planting: Plant the exact depth in the directions, pointed end up, do not use bone meal if you have dogs, do not pack soil hard over them, mulch, water in if it's been dry, and do all this at least a month prior to the first hard freeze.
If you have voles or moles, one solution is to plant bulbs in a chicken wire cage. Just make sure the soil is loose enough to go into the cage so there’s no air pocket.
I also mark where I plant bulbs or I am forever digging them up in summer when I'm finding a place for new plants.
If you are a garden enthusiast, I guarantee the work put into planting bulbs in the fall will fade from memory when they become flowers next spring.
“The day the Lord created hope
was probably the same day
He created spring.”
- Bern Williams