Make your garden grow for spring

28th July 2003, Comments 0 comments

Wouldn't you like to look forward to a blooming garden next spring? November is the month for planting bulbs, so step onto the soil and check out our guide to gardening.


Buying bulbs

Choose tulips that are marked good for naturalizing. This characteristic is usually pointed out on garden centre signs or marked on the pack of bulbs. It's best to pick general species and botanical tulips, since these have not been extensively crossbred and are very close to the bulbs found in nature.

Bulbs are widely available at garden centres, home centres, do-it-yourself centres, mass merchandisers, many hardware stores and supermarkets. It's always best to plant your bulbs as soon as possible after you buy them. If you have to wait, be sure to store the bulbs in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Bigger, more mature bulbs yield larger flowers and therefore demand higher prices. For a nice effect, mix large with small bulbs to add colour to small patches in your garden. As smaller bulbs mature they gain in size. top

Planting season

Autumn is the best time to plant flower bulbs, which bloom from February until July, depending on the type of bulb and the season.

You can start planting at the end of September through December. Bulbs are more frost resistant when the ground is still warm when planting; therefore, planting earlier is usually better. Don't plant when the soil is soaked or frosted.

In spring, you can plant bulbs that will flower in the summer, such as begonia, lily and dahlia. You can start planting as soon as night frosting is over until the end of May. top



Plant bulbs in a well-drained area. This might be a difficult task, but make sure that the soil doesn't get too wet to prevent the bulbs from rotting. The ideal place for planting is in light, nutritive soil. Heavy clay soil should be mixed with large quantities of sand and some ready-made compost containing a lot of calcium.

Fertilizer is not required at the first season since the bulbs contain enough food in its moist tissue. If you would like to prepare your bulbs for multiple seasons, ask your local garden centre about the right mulch or fast release nitrogen.


All bulbs should be placed in a sunny or partially shaded location. Beware that fall shade might be different than that in early spring, when most trees will be leafless. Place markers, such as small poles or sticks, after planting to make sure you don't damage bulbs when raking.

Bulb packages indicate a minimum planting distance between bulbs. Generally, larger bulbs should be planted 8 to 15 cm apart, smaller bulbs 3 to 6 cm apart.

If you would like to design your own flower patterns, it's best to draw it on paper before planting. Also take into account its flowering period, height and colour. If you plan and plant well, you can enjoy tulips from early February to May.

You can use a hand spade to dig holes for your bulbs, or you can use a bulb planter. This precise tool, which works like a corkscrew, aids in making straight lines and patterns. Usually, you place the bulb at a depth three times its diameter, or between 15 and 20 cm for large bulbs and 10 cm for smaller.

 Growing care

Water is especially important right after planting to ensure that the plants develop a strong root system before going into winter.

In the spring, after the blossoms have passed their peak and faded, clip off the flower heads and allow the green foliage to die back. You don't need to do this with daffodils. The clipping-off technique lets the plant put all its energy into building a strong bulb for next season.

Fertilize in fall and spring. For those who treat tulips as annuals no fertilizer is necessary. Healthy bulbs have more than enough food stored up to ensure a vigorous bloom the first season.

No garden?

You can place bulbs in a large pots of 25-30 cm. Crocus, narcissus and tulips are very suitable for pots, in particular when the flowers don't get too long. It's important that water can be drained from the pot, so place some hard foil or potsherds beneath. Cover these with some sand and place some potting compost on top. It's best to cover the pots during frost with some straw.

0 Comments To This Article