After a long day at work, isn’t it welcome to come home to a crock pot filled with warm, simmering stew? After the kneading and rising of yeast, nothing is better than a golden brown loaf of freshly baked bread. Food recipes require a short time of preparation and then give us comfort and sustenance. Flower bulb recipes take longer to ‘bake’, but the flowers bring beauty and a confidence to our gardens. Here are the recipes to create a long and continual season of spring bloom, from early February until the end of May. Each mix goes from the earliest bloomer to latest.
Fresh Mix: Snowdrop, Hyacinth, Tulip, Bluebell
Traditional Mix: Crocus, Daffodil, Grape Hyacinth, Tulip
Romantic Mix: Tete-a-tete Daffodil, Anemone, Fritillaria (checkered lily), Tulip
Poetic Mix: Glory of the Snow, Giant Crocus, Ipheion (star flower), Dwarf Iris
Time: At least six weeks, most of the winter.
Temperature: Cold! Bulbs require a minimum of six weeks of cold weather to stimulate root development. Also, phosphorus is important for root growth. Add a good organic bulb fertilizer at the time of planting so the bulbs can grow to their full potential. The bigger the bulb, the bigger the flower will be.
There are several ways to create a display with impact. First is to extend the bloom time, which will happen by mixing up the varieties, as in the recipes above. Also, planting in groups or drifts will give the plants a more natural look, rather than one here and another there, which makes them seem artificial. Finally, if space is an issue, try planting in containers. These can be planted with just one variety, for instance a whole tub of red tulips for impact, or planted as a mix to make the display continue for months. Besides bloom time, keep in mind plant height as well as flower color.
Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the fall. No matter the season, some animals are always looking for a snack. If you are having trouble with those furry animal friends munching on your bulbs, the following bulbs are not very tasty to deer, rabbit and squirrels: Daffodils, Narcissus, Hyacinths, Allium, Fritillaria, Iris, Anemones, Scilla, Snowdrops, Eranthus, Chinadoxa and Muscari Grape Hyacinths.
Look beyond macaroni and cheese and chicken noodle soup this year and try a new recipe for your garden, perhaps something fresh or poetic.