Time for bulbs

Nothing lifts the spirit in Spring like the arrival of daffodils, tulips, crocuses, starflowers, bluebells, hyacinths and alliums. And bulbs are so easy.
Ideal temperatures to plant are between 50 and 60 degrees, but bulbs will do fine within a range of 38 to 70 degrees. The planting site should get several hours of sunshine, but they will do well beneath trees because bulbs will bloom before the tree has leaves. The soil needs to drain well; if planted where water collects, the bulbs will likely rot. The drainage of heavy clay soils can be improved by adding compost.
If a bed of bulbs is desired, excavate an area of the appropriate depth, set in your bulbs, cover and water thoroughly. If planting bulbs individually, dig a hole of the appropriate depth, drop in the bulb, replace the soil and water thoroughly. It doesn’t matter much how the bulb is positioned; it will grow in the correct direction.
If you have a woodland area, it is very effective to plant bulbs along the edge. Meadow gardens, composed of bulbs intermingling with grasses that are allowed to grow to their full height, are also attractive. Bulbs can also be naturalized directly into lawns. Just lift up the sod, drop in a few bulbs, pat down and water. Early spring bulbs, such as snowdrops, crocuses and glory-of-the-snows are ideal choices here since they have grass-like leaves and don’t mind being mowed.
Bulbs need lots of water in the fall while they are establishing roots, and again in the spring until they finish flowering. Do not fertilize at planting time, but when the shoots begin to push through the soil, compost around the base is helpful bulbs are not heavy feeders. After the bulbs bloom, spent flowers or seed heads can be removed, but never cut, braid, or tie up foliage before it withers and dies, because the bulbs will be prevented from producing the energy they need to grow and bloom the next year.
Amaryllis and paperwhites can be forced indoors. See instructions from the providing company.
If you have access to the internet, three companies to check out for bulbs are Colorblends, John Scheepers, and Van Engelen Inc. All three companies sell lots of varieties of high quality bulbs from Holland at good prices. And the pictures are beautiful.
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