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Planting Bulbs

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What's your style?

doing mass plantings. Either way, the two most important points that you should know about planting a bulb are:

The planting method and type of bulb you choose can depend on the design style you want to achieve: natural or formal.

• Set the bulb at the correct depth.

Naturalizing refers to the ability of some bulbs to come back

• Place the bulb right side up in the hole.

year after year. A synonym is perennialize. Some of the tulip species are good naturalizers, as are some crocuses and many

As a general rule, most bulbs should be planted at a depth

daffodils (and many other bulbs). In naturalistic design, you

equal to three times their diameter. For example, plant a

do your best to imitate a natural planting for a particular type

2-inch (5 cm) bulb 6 inches (15 cm) deep. Remnants of roots

bulb, and you choose bulbs that go on to naturalize on their

on the bottom of the bulb should tell you which side of the bulb

own, thereby making the planting look more natural year after

points down. If you see no sign of root remnants, plant the bulb

year.

so that the most pointed, narrow part points up. If you have

In formal design, you want bulbs that come back every year.

any doubts, ask our local nurseries or your landscaper.

Also, you may want to plant in carefully excavated beds. If you have heavy clay soil, try planting at one-half the

Planting bulbs

recommended depth. The bulb won't have to expend as much energy struggling through the dense clay.

Planting bulbs is easy, especially if you're using a shallow container. You can break a serious sweat, however, if you're

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You can plant bulbs individually by using a hand trowel or


planting bulbs

bulb planter. If you are planting many bulbs, dig one big trench or hole and place the bulbs in the bottom. Most bulbs require well-drained soil. (Bulbs can rot in soggy, overly wet ground.) Before planting your bulbs, mix a slow-release, complete fertilizer into the soil in the bottom of the hole, then add a little more soil so that the bulb itself doesn't come in contact with the fertilizer granules. You can find appropriate bulb fertilizers in nurseries and garden centers. After planting the bulbs, water them thoroughly

Beware the creatures A gardener can be pretty perplexed when the 200 bulbs he or she planted last fall make just a meager showing in the spring. Yes, the reason could be inferior bulb quality or improper planting depth, but a likely culprit could be an animal. On Nantucket, mice, deer, and yes, now squirrels, forage for and feast on newly planted bulbs. But don't despair — you can grow beautiful flowering bulbs. Consider the following: • Most critters leave daffodils and snowdrops alone, which is one big reason many of these plants naturalize so well. • Use bulb fertilizer or superphosphate instead of bone meal, which can attract some animals. • If burrowing animals are a problem, plant the bulbs in a wire mesh bulb basket. • Once you have your bulbs in the ground, wait for spring and you will see the little green shoots begin to poke through the earth. Crocuses, snow drops and muscari will be the first to pop through. What a pleasure these spots of color provide. • Nantucketers are well aware of the fall planting of daffodil bulbs. An entire Daffodil Festival is built around their blooming, and everyone enjoys them along our roadsides and in our gardens.

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planting bulbs

The 2009 Daffodil Festival is April 24-26th. This event always occurs on the last weekend in April. Local gardeners who grow their own daffodils display them at the Garden Club's annual flower show competition. The crowning glory of this weekend is the antique and classic car parade in which elaborately decorated and beribboned Rolls Royce SIlver Clouds, Ford Model-Ts, Thunderbirds and Volkswagens travel from Main Street out Milestone Road to Siasconset, where the parade culminates in tailgate picnics.

For further information about the 2009 Daffodil Festival, call the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce at 508-228-1700.

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Planting Bulbs  

The planting method and type of bulb you choose can depend on the design style you want to achieve: natural or formal. Naturalizing refers t...

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