Think of it as buried treasure. When you plant bulbs in the fall, you are burying something that looks pretty ordinary. (Let’s face it– dormant flower bulbs are brown and boring.) But once buried in the ground, a flower bulb begins to grow. First it sets roots. Then it hunkers down during the cold winter months and literally chills out.
It’s when the soil warms up in the springtime that the treasure begins. The ordinary-looking flower bulb sends up a green shoot that quickly becomes fully forms leaves and a colorful flower blossom. Voila, the lowly flower bulb has become buried treasure.
Spring-flowering bulbs—which include tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses—are among the most prized flowers in the garden. Flower bulbs are the colorful harbingers of a new spring season. But you can’t enjoy that colorful display in the springtime unless you plant the bulbs in the fall.
Here are a few ways to get the most out of your autumn bulb-planting season.
Tulip bulb mixtures at wholesale prices
Sven Ska sounds like the name of a European musician, but it’s actually the name given to a mixture of tulip bulbs. The Sven Ska assortment of tulip bulbs from Colorblends offers a two-story springtime display of springtime blooms. Densely double-petaled flowers in purple and yellow mingle below, while purple, lily-flowered tulip blossoms float above. Together, the mix of purple and yellow create a chromatic feast for the eye.
Also from Colorblends is the Twin Peeks assortment, which pairs large-flowered pink and red tulips that are both vigorous and beautiful. The red blossoms are vibrant and the pink flowers have rose tones that blend perfectly with the red flowers. These two varieties grow 22 inches tall and bloom in mid-spring. $33 for 100 bulbs.
Colorblends brings wholesale bulb prices to gardeners, with dozens of bulb mixtures in every color palette. The minimum order is $60. Order from www.colorblends.com (888-847-8637) and plant in the fall for a gorgeous springtime display.
A different kind of daffodil
Daffodils are one of the most important plants in the garden. The bulbs are easy to grown, bloom freely and last for years. The traditional bright yellow daffodil with its center cup-shaped petals is a garden favorite. But not every daffodil is exactly alike. A daffodil variety called Daffodil Belcanto has a very different look. Its split-cupped collar is comprised of dark yellow petals in the front and creamy yellow petals underneath. The corona segments swirl in two whorls of three, giving a Daffodil Belcanto blossom a unique look. It blooms in mid-to-late spring. A package of 25 Daffodil Belcanto bulbs sells for $30.15 from www.livinggardens.com, (855) 584-4736.
Long-handled planter takes back-breaking work out of planting bulbs
The Stainless Steel Long-Handled Bulb Planter from Joseph Bentley eliminates the need for bending when planting flower bulbs. The tread-edged wings help drive the bulb cylinder into the ground without causing damage to boots or shoes. The stainless steel planting head has a 4-inch scale to aid in planting bulbs at the optimum depth. The tool’s carefully finished solid ash wooden handle with a T-shaped grip gives the sturdy tool the durability to withstand many years of heavy use.
Established in 1895, Joseph Bentley is known throughout England for making high-quality traditional garden tools that are backed by a lifetime warranty. The company’s spades and forks have developed a legendary reputation among gardeners for their workmanship and sturdy quality. For the first time, these fine tools are available to American gardeners. Joseph Bentley stainless steel tools are known for their proven design and attention to detail.
The Stainless Steel Long-Handled Bulb Planter sells for $49.99 in fine gardening stores and online at www.josephbentleyus.com.