The last of the bulbs arrived today, all were unpacked and the order checked. There were a few items sold out, but all the most important items are here. It’s a drizzly, cold day so the planting won’t begin immediately. Instead, the “bulb sheets” were finished and the planting plan revised to reflect not only the “missing” bulbs but those that were ordered in a recent “impulse” purchase. After reading a few blogs from “down under” where spring is just beginning, some snowdrops and “Glory of the Snow” were ordered to start the spring bloom earlier. The sooner I can see flowers next year, the better! Plus a few species tulips were ordered to replace some that were unavailable.
The bulb sheets are useful as planting goes on, because it lists heights and planting depth for each variety. Plus the color photos are a quick guide for combining colors and shapes. Once planting is complete, the sheets go in the “Bloom” notebook, where they are used to note the date the variety comes into bloom, as well as the date its flowering is over. The color photos help to quickly identify each variety as it comes into bloom. Notes are also made as to growth (the leaves are just TOO big! or the stems are too weak to hold up the flowers) and colors (TOO PINK! or absolutely perfect!) or bloom period (petals fell off very quickly!) so that when the time comes to order bulbs again there is lots of info.
The top sheet (nearest my ever-present tea cup and some newly cut roses) is just a quick list of the varieties that go in each garden, and how many. Generally, the Front Garden and the Potager’s exterior border have a lot of the same varieties (lots of orange tulips of all heights, crocus along the sidewalk) because they are the two major gardens seen from the road and the driveway. This year, they are also getting some purple alliums. The Front Island gets NO tulips or crocus because the squirrels are too active there, so it will have the tall white alliums and some snowdrops instead. The Deck Garden is not seen by passersby, so it gets a slightly different color combination (more yellows and white) plus fragrant hyacinths and early crocus along the sidewalk and back door. The Potager’s interior border mimics the Deck Garden a bit in tulip color, but also has purple alliums to extend the bulb period. The Fairy Garden will get a few crocus and snowdrops, and maybe some muscari. And since it is rarely visited in spring, the Addition Garden gets a few species tulips, some muscari, and anything else that’s leftover! I always think I’ll put some bulbs in the Cutting Garden for early bouquets, but there are never enough bulbs. Maybe someday, but it’s not high on the priority list.
Planting will be done at a leisurely pace, any day when the weather is decent and the ground dry enough for digging. Planting will begin at the back of the Front Garden and move forward til it’s done, then the Potager Exterior border, followed by the Deck Garden, the Potager Interior border, then the Front Island (less time for the squirrels to find things and dig them up just for fun) and lastly, even if the snow is flying the small bulbs that go in the Fairy Garden can be put in. The Addition Garden freezes last, since it’s along a west-facing brick wall, so it’s last planted, although in fact some years, I’ve run out of bulbs before I got there. As long as everything is in by Thanksgiving, all is well. A sprinkling of bone meal and a pinch of fertilizer goes in each hole.
As mentioned in an earlier post, extra hyacinths and some amaryllis bulbs were ordered to battle the winter doldrums. I’m already debating whether to pot one of the amaryllis NOW (like the minute I’m done with this post!) and maybe even force a hyacinth! The amaryllis takes 8-10 weeks, and I’m sure by then a big flower would really be appreciated.
Are you planting bulbs? Are you forcing any bulbs yet for indoor cheer?