See these boxes and bags? They must be planted. All eleventy thousand of my bulbs have arrived except for a late order from Brent & Becky’s. I hope it’s a beautiful day because I’m going out to plant.
How do I do it?
Easy peasy. Take your sweet time and don’t hurry your sweet self.
If it takes a day or more, don’t worry, but make sure you tag or mark the spot where you’ve planted something so you don’t dig it up on day two. I know this from experience. Just remember to plant the little darlings in a natural way–unless you’re into the Holland bulb field look–all nice, straight rows. Place them pointy side up and three times as deep as the size of bulb.
In some spots this fall I’m using the scatter method popularized by Jacqueline van der Kloet, a Dutch garden designer. I saw a segment on Martha Stewart where van der Kloet planted a river of bulbs beneath Martha’s Linden trees, and Fran Sorin wrote about her interview with van der Kloet, along with a really nice review of her garden after visiting in 2010.
The method is this: Get a wheelbarrow or garden cart, take your bulbs, mix them up and toss onto the prepared bed. Then, tuck each sweetie in after making sure they have plenty of space. For a small space van der Kloet uses only three varieties of bulbs, and with a large border up to seven varieties according to Sorin. I’m planting in this method for the herbaceous border next to the garage. It is more protected than the lower garden and doesn’t have many bulbs. In this space, I’m planting: Allium nectaroscordum (24 bulbs, blooms late spring), Allium schubertii (12 bulbs, late spring), Narcissus ‘Thalia’ (32 bulbs, blooms mid-spring), Narcissus ‘Wave’ (4 bulbs, mid-spring), Scilla campulata ‘Excelsior’ (40 bulbs, late spring), Muscari latifolium (70 bulbs, mid-spring), a pastel mix of basic tulips in yellows and soft pinks (80 bulbs, mid-spring) –I don’t spend much on these because they are annual here–and a fragrant collection of bulbs with a pink parrot-type tulips, small narcissus and stodgy, pink hyacinths (54 bulbs, late spring.)
Three hundred, fourteen bulbs if I added correctly. That’s just the back garden.
Bulb planting isn’t difficult, but it can cause wear and tear on the elbows. Frances of Fairegarden reminded me to use my trowel in a stabbing fashion to plant to ease hand and elbow stress. I am taking her advice. Gail from Clay and Limestone influenced me by talking so much about her Tommies. Last year, I tried a few. I liked them so much this year I ordered more. Other friends, Mary Ann of Gardens of the Wild Wild West, and Cindy From My Corner of Katy also influenced my purchases. This group of friends is a bunch of bulb enablers. What will my children think one day if they put a spade to earth in my garden and only hit bulb after bulb?
This is when I begin to panic. I have itty bitty crocus, itty bitty tulips and more small bulbs than I can count. What was I thinking?