4 reasons to add flowering bulbs to your garden

Bulbs are a great way to expand your flower garden's blooming repertoire. Pop them into the ground, and at precise times in the blooming season, your garden will benefit from their varied heights and rich colours and forms.

4 reasons to add flowering bulbs to your garden

Bulb basics

This general information about bulbs can help you incorporate them into your garden.

  • Hardy spring-flowering bulbs end their growing season in late spring or early summer, remain dormant through the hot, dry days of summer and start growing roots again in the fall.
  • A few summer bulbs, such as caladiums, cannot tolerate freezing temperatures, so one of the fall rituals for bulb lovers is to dig up their tender tubers, pack them into boxes and keep them cosy until planting time rolls around the following spring.

1. Get a dazzling display

For the most natural appearance, plant small spring-flowering bulbs, such as grape hyacinth and small daffodils, in groups, not singly or in rows.

  • For the most natural look of all, just toss the bulbs on the ground and plant them wherever they fall.
  • Some will be close together; others far apart. You'll avoid an artificial or contrived look.

2. Big bulbs make big flowers

When buying bulbs, look for the largest ones available.

  • They have the greatest food reserves and will produce more and larger flowers.
  • Also buy bulbs that show no sign of root or shoot growth, and feel the package to make sure the bulbs are firm rather than mushy.
  • If a newly purchased bulb has begun to grow, plant it in a pot if you can't set it out in your garden immediately.

3. Mark a missing spot

What do you do when a hyacinth that was supposed to appear in spring doesn't show up?

  • Push a coloured golf tee into the soil at the spot where it didn't grow.
  • In the fall, you'll know exactly where to plant a new bulb to avoid gaps in your planting plan.

4. Invite some company

  • Interplant bulbs with bushy biennials, perennials or leafy creeping plants, which will use their foliage to conceal the bulbs' yellowing leaves as they die back.
  • Use daylilies to camouflage the fading foliage of daffodils or let fall-blooming chrysanthemums hide the yellow legs of spent tulips.
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