Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Bulb Planting

The most important step in planting bulbs in the fall is to purchase large, high quality bulbs.  The 14/15 or 16/17 notations relate to the size of the bulb.  The higher the numbers the larger the bulb which will produce more and larger blooms.  Make sure the bulbs are firm, not soft or moldy.

This is Itzim Daffodil laid out in alternating triangles.  It is a smaller daffodil so I place them four or five inches apart.

Daffodil Itzim is a good replacement for Tete-A-Tete because it has a longer bloom time and is approximately the same size.

I use an auger attachment on the end of a drill to get through difficult soil and groundcovers, smaller bulbs that require more shallow planting can be put in with a hand trowel.  Some people dig large areas and place many bulbs in groupings.  This only works if you know there is nothing else in the area that you will disturb.

The Lirope that grows under the pear tree has been cut back because it is very difficult to plant in this area and the grass turns yellow during the winter.  It softens quite a bit and is very difficult in the spring.

I sprinkle a little bulb fertilizer in the hole, mix it up a little, put the bulb in point up.  If you're not sure which is the top you can always lay it sideways and it will come up just fine.

We put in some more Orange Emperor Tulips around the Chanticleer Pear.  Here it is pictured with Sweetheart Emperor.

Another very early daffodil called Early Sensation was added to the borders in front of the house.  They are pictured above on the south side of my home last spring - long blooming.

Cover with soil and mulch, tamp down with your feet when done, supposedly this will help deter critters.  I'll try anything as I have a major problem with squirrels in the fall and rabbits in the spring, mostly for tulips.  Plantskydd for Critters seemed to help last year and I also used chicken wire with metal garden staples.

I also put in three different varieties of Orienpet Lilies (a cross between Asiatic and Oriental Lilies).  They range in height from three to six feet.  They look great peeking out from behind other plantings, phlox, roses, daisies, etc.

Conca d'Orr



Bulbs can be planted until the ground freezes hard.  I have actually planted bulbs as late as December in zone 5 (not a recommendation).

It seems like a lot of work but so rewarding to look out and see the fruits of your labor in the springtime!


Cher' Shots said...

Beautiful flowers ~ thanks for the planting tips.

Lisa ~Suburban Retreat~ said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I have been gardening for approx. 7 years now and have NEVER attempted to plant bulbs. Don't really know why but your beautiful photos have inspired me! ~Cheers, Lisa~

Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, Bulb planting is so exciting as one imagines what the Spring will bring as a result of one's efforts now. Your bulb planting gadget is most intriguing and certainly, I imagine, speeds up the tedious planting operation significantly.

LC said...

Thanks for the tip on Itzim daffodils... I see you use an auger. I bought a new 8 amp drill specifically for bulb planting this past weekend and got 400 new bulbs planted. My problem with the augers is that if you hit a root, the shaft can been... I have a shorter one and it's heavier which is great, but it doesn't dig deep enough... the long one like yours is always bending and has quite a wobble with the new powerful drill... wish I could find one with a MUCH heavier shaft. Larry

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Cher' Shots,

Bulbs are great fun, little work and lots of payback.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Lisa,

I think you will be thrilled if you plant some bulbs, not much work, and you will love looking at them poking through in the spring.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Edith,

Bulb planting around here is sometimes difficult when dealing with tree roots and hard soil. This is not the fun part of bulb planting.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Larry, the Itzim Daffodils were not something I knew about when I ordered them last year. I just liked the name. But, as I watched them I was amazed at their longevity compared to Tete-A-Tete which I have close by.


Rose said...

Those lilies are so beautiful; I may have to add some to my fall bulb planting as well. Thanks for some great tips, Eileen. I have also used the auger with a drill; certainly makes it easier to dig. I need to get busy planting my bulbs, but I've been waiting for a good rain to soften the ground. Right now I might need a pickaxe to dig deep enough holes:)

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Rose, I agree with you, the ground is so hard even though we have had a lot of rain in the beginning of the season. It is always a chore to plant those bulbs.


joey said...

Good job, Eileen, but you are making me nervous. Way behind, I have yet to plant a bulb :( and I need an auger attachment, just like yours :)

Zoey said...

Oh, I predict a beautiful spring garden in 2011 !

That is a lot of bulbs to plant. I would have a blistered finger or two from the trowel. I think your planting device looks interesting. Does it take a long time to make a hole deep enough?

Bernie said...

This is one aspect of gardening that doesn't happen in my part of the world. I think the only bulbs anyone plants around here would be Gladiolus bulbs ... but I don't think that would happen with the same degree of care.

I just love those Orienpet Lilies. As I've had such success with both the Oriental and Asiatic Lilies this year, I just might have to give these a go as well.

I had a little chuckle over your comment about covering up the Pope poster with Jimmie ... good call!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Joey, you have plenty of time. I always order feel compelled to get them in the ground so it won't look like I ordered too many. ha!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Zoey, I still like the trowel, but sometimes the auger is the only way to go. It takes only seconds to get the hole deep enough, as long as you don't hit something.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Bernie, I just bought a package of two different types of lilies last year and one happened to be Orienpet. Then they bloomed and I saw them on Larry Conrad's post. They were gorgeous, so I ordered more for this year.


GardenJoy4Me said...

Eileen girl (stop eating that Halloween candy before the party !!!) haha .. Yup we all have our own little system for planting Spring bulbs .. depending on the room etc .. my bulb circle is the show place and my fingers are crossed that they all come up like they did last Spring !!
I know yours will look gorgeous girl.
Joy : )

Indoor Fountains said...

Eileen- you have quite a flair for this- I am envious. lol Keep up the great work