The chill is evident when the sun goes down; fall has arrived. Autumn is the time for planting spring and even winter blooming bulbs in the landscape. Dedicate a bed or at least part of an area to bulbs that bloom throughout the spring. This can become a year-round bulb bed that only requires occasional weeding and bulb division ever four or five years.
Begin with division of existing bulbs in the landscape. Any areas where bulbs are planted that experienced light or no blooms this year probably indicate that the bed is crowded from bulb multiplication. Dig the bulbs from the ground and separate the offshoots from the parent. Plant some of them back into the same bed and others into newly dug beds in other parts of the landscape.
Stagger bloom times
Layer bulbs with staggered bloom times into the same bed. Plant at the right depth, about three times as deep as the height of the bulb. While digging you might run into other underground structures in the garden that don't look like bulbs. These may be corms and tubers that produce the winter blooming crocus, daffodils, and summer blooming dahlias and gladiolus. There may be some rhizomes there, as well. These can be cut for division and moving to other areas. Each structure produces more flowers if one or more eyes are left on the cutting.
If the garden does not offer a variety of blooms for division, check out your local home improvement store or garden center. Purchase bulbs that are solid and appear healthy. If friends are dividing perennial bulbs, express your interest. Most people are happy to share.
Remember to plant a range of lily bulbs for continued spring blooms. Asiatic and Oriental lilies provide long-lasting color in the spring garden. Plant spring annuals around the bulbs to keep roots cool. Planning and planting now for the spring garden provides a show in the flowerbed.
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