‘Though it is bulb planting time, well under way here in southeast Tennessee, the best time to think about what new bulbs might be needed to bring the Fairegarden vision to its pinnacle of perfection is when all of those previously planted bulbs are in bloom. Above: Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’.
That is when the pictorial archives, (and old blog posts) are the most valuable. Some of us are visual beings, we need to SEE IT, to understand better how to improve the plantings, be they bulbs, shrubs or stubs. (HA, did you like that last one?) Above: Hyacinth orientalis.
Notes are taken during the height of bulb-blooming-mania in spring, add more of these, need something taller here, need a different color there. Early bird discounts by the big mail order bulb houses are taken advantage of as orders are placed in May. Then the busy times during summer drive the thoughts of bulbs out of mind. Above: Tulipa ‘Little Princess’ and Tulipa ‘Little Beauty’.
At the proper planting time, mid-October here, the bulb orders start arriving. Notes are scanned to help us remember where these packages of promise were meant to be planted. Once everything is in the ground, the gardener becomes restless. There is still time to plant. We are lucky to be able to plant well into December here, for the ground does not freeze until much later, if at all and there will still be plenty of chill time for even those with the longest requirements, like Tulips, before the warmth returns to the soil. Above: Tulipa ‘Orange Emperor’. Note: More orange tulips have been planted on the other side of the path after looking at this photo.
We need more bulbs. Above: Unknown blue Hyacinth orientalis.
More, more, more is the rally cry. There can never be too many bulbs. Late season sales quicken a tightwad’s heart. How to know what to add, other than something not sold out? Check the photos. Use the zoom, see what is where. But keep in mind that every spring, just as the bulb blooms start to fade, there is manic moving, spreading about of the larger bulb clumps. Above: Crocus tommasinianus ‘Roseus’.
Most authorities advise on waiting until fall to dig and divide bulbs, but that is just crazy talk. Everything is invisible then! One cannot see where anything is, or how they relate to other things that might be blooming at the same time. A post was written about it, click here-How To Divide Daffodils to view it, if you are so inclined. Above: The left slope, March 7, 2011.
If the journal entries are not precise about what was divided and moved, and they never are, it is a roll of the dice to know exactly what bulb is lying in wait underground and where. Above: Allium karataviense at top, Allium bulgaricum, (I can’t keep up with the name changes on this one), along the lower wall.
And so more bulbs are ordered from the sale emails, more packaged bulbs are bought that have been marked down as nurseries and the big box stores make room for Christmas merchandise. They get planted with the best photo mapping information available as a guide. Above: The lawn/meadow, March 29, 2011.