PHOTOS BY HOLLY STICKLEY
Spring is officially here! Yippee!
What an exhilarating time – spring-green foliage filling the garden, longer warmer days, birds chirping, planting new delights…
For me, spring in the garden means tulips! I absolutely adore tulips; it’s one of my favorite bulbs. I love their statuesque elegant form in such a wide array of color choices!
|Single Late “Queen of Night”|
If you’ve never planted tulip bulbs, no worries – it’s not heart surgery. There was a time when I thought the only way I could have tulips growing in my garden was to purchase them in bloom and then plant them in the ground. But I learned that tulip bulbs need a cold period (mimics their origin) and should be planted in the Fall for blooms the following Spring.
So, over the years, if you’ve been oohing and eyeing your neighbor’s tulips and want to try your hand at growing them yourself, here’s How-to Plant:
• Plant deep – 8 inches, measuring from the base of the bulb
• Dip each bulb in a solution like Bobbex – chemical-free fertilizer that repels rodents
• Plant 3-4″ apart, pointed side up, flat root side down
• Cover with soil, pat, water, mulch, and wait – piece of cake!
In the foreground, Single Late ‘Bleu Aimable’
And, here are a few Design Tips:
• Plant in large drifts under deciduous trees and tall shrubs
• Plant in clumps of as little as 5, but repeat loosely in a drift
• Plant the same variety. Think bold strokes – big impact!
• Plant a few varieties in the same tonal range
• Plant with low-growing Spring blooming mounding perennials
Let’s talk about dying foliage. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But I hate the dying foliage.” Yes, dying foliage is not very attractive, but you must leave the foliage intact until it yellows – it’s bulb food for next year’s blooms. Plant where emerging Spring foliage will hide the dying tulip foliage. Or, you can dig up the bulbs, plant in pots, and hide the pots; the foliage can then die in peace and not be seen. Where I’ve dug them out, I like to replace with summer annuals. It’s a bit of work, but the results are well worth the effort. But, if you’re treating your tulips as annuals, dig up and toss!
|Viridiflora Spring Green|
There are many resources available for purchasing tulip bulbs. I like to purchase online. Spending evenings with a glass of Prosecco and drooling over all the choices – my happy place! Or, you can find out when your local nursery will start selling Fall planted bulbs. However you buy your bulbs, be picky! Avoid bulbs with soft or insect damaged areas. Tulips should have their skins intact (also called tunics) or they’ll be vulnerable to disease. If you buy online, most companies will replace damaged bulbs immediately. If you’d like to know where to buy online, leave me a comment below.
Next Spring your garden will be the one admired, with your long-stemmed, elegant dazzling beauties – it’s Tulip Time!
Enjoy, and as always love hearing from you!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line in the comment box below.
Till next time… Love, Holly ~ Your Queen Bee at The White Pear