Autumn is the time of year when the weather cools, the tree leaves turn vibrant colors and we gardeners need to think of the Spring. What? Think of spring in autumn? Why? Well, Autumn is when we must plant the bulbs that will give us those early flowering beauties which herald the growing season.
Before summer is through the garden centers are already bursting with possibilities. There are great displays of Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Snowdrops, Grape Hyacinths and Alliums among others. My mailbox is full with mail order catalogs which offer a greater variety of these old-time favorites plus others you might never see in stores. I defy anyone to look through a few and not fall in love with something new and different every Autumn. Those catalogs are a danger to wallets so pace yourself. In general you won't spend a single cent without it giving you endless payback. Bulbs multiply readily with some naturalizing quite enchantingly.
When wishing to create a dazzling Spring flower display one needs to prepare the planting sight which should get ample sun exposure. Remember that in early Spring there are no leaves on trees to shade out the sun so planting under trees is usually all right. Ridding the intended space of weeds and fortifying the bare soil with compost tilling it in well is the best thing you can do to ensure wonderful productivity. Good rich, well draining soil is a must. This has to be done first because once planted these bulbs need never be disturbed except for dividing.
After the sight is prepared one needs to decide what flowers to plant. The best Spring displays I've seen in Botanical gardens (and I've seen plenty in my many travels around the US) are those with a long blooming time. To achieve this a good mixture of bulbs is required. This doesn't mean you have to have Daffodils with Tulips or Hyacinths with Crocus unless you like that look. Combinations look amazing when done with contrasting color and shapes. Experiment and you might surprise yourself. Most people, however, seem to prefer a bed devoted to one flower. The look is stunning I must admit but I find it limited. Once they flower, mostly all at once, you're left with bare ground again. How boring it that?
What I see as the good alternative to the sole flower approach for the home garden is layering the bulbs this way you have a continuous display which can last for over three months if properly thought out. When purchasing these bulbs they are usually labeled as early, mid or late....read more.