If you’re thinking about ordering fall bulbs, read on for what I’m planting this year. Fall bulbs make great spring flowers.
Scilla siberica, so tiny and so true blue
Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty‘, Siberian squill, flowers early and into the middle part of Spring. I grow them for my honey bees because, although tiny, the flowers are the color of an Oklahoma spring sky. The pollen is blue so the honey bees have blue bees’ knees which makes me smile. My friend, Layanee, wrote about it on her blog. I wish she’d resurrect it. I loved her blog. She did write one post this year.
Scilla bulbs are supposed to multiply, but they don’t seem to do it much here. Maybe too much mulch? I don’t know.
If you’d like to read more about the color blue, check out this newsletter I wrote a while back. Would you like me to write my newsletters again? I think about it sometimes.
The photos in this post will be from years past because I haven’t grown most of the varieties I purchased this year. I could use bulbs purveyors’ photos, but I’m too lazy to ask for permission.
I love spring flowers, but I hate planting tulips.
Since I love spring flowers, but hate planting tulips I bought fewer tulips than ever before. Why do I hate planting tulips? Because they are critter snacks, but I don’t want to dig large enough holes for wire baskets like some of my gardening friends do. Also, planting tulips hurts my wrists more than other bulbs except daffodils. Daffodils get a pass because they come back each year, and nothing eats them. Tulips, on the other hand, rarely make a repeat performance in my hot summer garden. I use them as annuals, expensive ones.
Protecting tulips from voles and other creatures
Tulips are such bright, colorful bulbs, and Oklahoma often has such a long and cold winter. Tulips look like flower candy, and voles think they taste like it. If you plant your tulips in the middle of daffodils, it sometimes stops the voles. You can also dip them in Plantskydd animal deterrent. I’ll probably do both. Wear gloves if you use Plantskydd. It stinks, and if you have a hound dog, he or she may dig up the bulbs.
The things we do for flowers. Am I right?
More fall bulb orders
From John Scheepers Bulbs I bought:
- Tulipa ‘Cosmopolitan‘ because it’s just pretty and new this year.
- Tulipa ‘Green Wave.’ Yes, I succumbed to my own photo.
- The Tulip Pride Mixture because it’s fancy. I seem to like purple, pink, red, and orange tulips.
- Iris reticulata ‘Clairette.‘ I like seeing these small rock iris right out my kitchen door where I can enjoy them up close.
- The Blue and Purple Hill Iris Mixture. The same reason as ‘Clairette’; plus, rock iris are easy to plant.
- Eranthis hyemalis, winter aconite, because it’s so early, and a good pollinator plant.
- Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ for the blue bees’ knees.
- Narcissus ‘Mount Hood.’ Jamie Ashmore from KTOK’s Garden Party suggested it in a talk he gave last year. Yes, I took notes.
- Narcissus ‘British Gamble.’ Even though I know pink-cupped daffodils are really salmon in hue, I still like them. This one just has pink/salmon around the edge.
From Colorblends, I bought:
- Tulipa ‘Big Eartha,’ another suggestion of Jamie’s.
- Narcissus ‘Avalanche.’ I’ve grown this one before.
- Narcissus ‘Sir Winston Churchill,’ another suggestion of Jamie’s.
Why plant daffodils?
Narcissus, or daffodils are critter proof. Nothing wants to eat them. Many varieties are also extremely tough and multiply over the seasons. That’s why you’ll find them at old homesteads. If you’ve never grown ‘Thalia’ you should. It’s wonderful.
I like white daffodils a lot. Like a little black dress, they go with everything.
A couple of thoughts about the photo, above. This is the border I can see from my kitchen window which runs from my garage door and my kitchen door down to the back garden. Just right of it are the tiered borders.
Plant the important bulbs where you can see them.
In fall, I plant most of my tulips in this border so I can see them daily. Also, this soil is very sandy and easy to dig. I don’t try to plant bulbs in clay soil because I hate digging in it.
For difficult places use a bulb auger drill attachment.
You can use a long bulb auger drill attachment to plant in difficult places. My favorite cordless drill is by DeWalt, but pick a line of tools and then enjoy cordless power. Rechargeable battery-operated power tools are the best gardening investment I’ve made in years because they are lightweight and powerful. I especially love the DeWalt hedge trimmers and chainsaw.
I bought my tools one at a time, but they would make great Christmas gifts. The batteries are interchangeable.
Naturalistic bulb design
I don’t find the kitchen border difficult to dig so I just sit in it in November and work. Sometimes, I have to cut back a few of the perennials to find places to plant.
I’m a big fan of Jacqueline van der Kloet’s naturalistic bulb designs, and I try in my own small fashion to replicate some of her work. I heard her speak years ago at a GardenComm meeting, and she was so warm and inspiring. I throw down the bulbs and plant them where they land. I mix bulb types together too.
A new book for my birthday!
I didn’t know it, but van der Kloet had a new book out in 2020 called A Year in My Garden, and my friend, Linda from Each Little World profiled it. You know I just bought it. According to Linda, the book begins in September. Well, Happy Birthday to me!
I also don’t amend my soil for bulbs. They don’t need any special fertilizer. They are already a concise blooming machine, but if you want to add compost, I use Back to Nature cottonburr compost or Happy Frog soil conditioner. I just heard about another new compost, and I’m doing research on it. I’ll let you know once I have more information.
More bulbs for flowers indoors
From Eden Brothers, I purchased two Narcissus tazetta, paperwhites, to force indoors because I get bored in winter. I’m also bored in the middle of summer when temperatures are above 100°, but there’s not much I can do about that.
Blooming plants beat the winter blues. I suggest you grow sweet-smelling paperwhites instead of ‘Ziva,’ but do what you like. If you think paperwhites stink, you are probably growing ‘Ziva.
Here is how to grow amaryllis and paperwhites indoors. Trust me, it’s easy.
I also ordered a couple of amaryllis bulbs from Eden Brothers and John Scheepers. I did keep my previous amaryllis bulbs alive this summer, and I’ve now cut them back and put them in the closet to bring out around Christmas. Still, I’m hedging my bets by having two new ones, ‘Jumbo Royal Velvet‘ and ‘Double King.‘ I guess I’m in the mood for dark red amaryllis flowers this year. Sometimes, I just grow white ones. I really haven’t met an amaryllis bulb I don’t like including the cybister ones.
Don’t forget our podcast.
Carol Michel and I didn’t talk about fall bulbs this week on the Gardenangelists although crinums were mentioned. Instead, we chatted about English Gardens. Below is the latest podcast episode. You can listen to it from this post on your computer if you click the link. You can also listen on Apple podcasts if you’d like. Plus, Carol has been writing our new Substack newsletter for the Gardenangelists. It’s my favorite weekly read, and you can get it in your email inbox if you subscribe.
Now, back to fall bulbs for spring flowers. How about you? Will you buy and plant bulbs this fall?