I mentioned in my post about bulbs on Friday that it took a special kind of gardener to plant bulbs–one that was willing to work in weather that was usually at least cool but might also be damp, cold and nasty.
Well, that’s a pretty vague reference to the weather one needs to plant bulbs. If one buys them from mail order sources, one can be reasonably assured that they won’t come until it’s pretty close to the correct time to plant (and I always remember being shocked at how late that was for me–it’s usually early October!)
Mind you, all the stores and garden centers have had the bulbs on display for 6 weeks already–and unless you (or I) are planting fall flowering bulbs, what that means is that I should not be doing anything but trying to store those bulbs that I buy (to get the best selection, if I purchase locally) in a cool dark place until it is the correct time to plant.
Why does this matter? It matters for a lot of reasons, the first and most important being that bulbs need a period of dormancy, in place, before they bloom. Get them in too soon and with our wild and wacky weather (and don’t tell me you aren’t having some of that where you are–I think every part of the United States, at least, will own up to some wild and wacky weather this year at least!) you’ll be fretting when they come up too soon.
Now most bulbs are well able to protect themselves unless of course the flower itself has opened. And some bulbs–like grape hyacinth–immediately send up a shoot of green leaves. If you don’t know that because it’s your first time planting them, it can cause mild to moderate hysteria.
These same grape hyacinths have an annoying–or fabulous–habit of sending those same green leaves back again every fall. Some folks plant 1 in every clump of bulbs to remind them of where they are. So that habit can be useful if you use it to your advantage.
On Friday, I’ll share some hints from my friends at Colorblends about how to know when it’s time to plant bulbs in your part of the country. And the hints are great. They make me smile when ever I think of them.