Bulb Planting

I love spring bulb flowers. I drag my husband and kids to nearby tulip festivals. I’ve planted bulbs at almost every garden I have owned. My last house had a great daffodil bed, that gave us three weeks of spring cheer when skies were still grey. Plus daffodils and tulips make pretty cut flowers in the house. I knew that I wanted a plethora of spring bulbs at the Oregon house and the time to start is now.

Visiting the tulip fields in 2013. I miss that adorable curly hair.

So far, I’ve mostly posted about the more organized beds in the back. However the majority of the yard would better be described as woodsy and shady. I have been watching the shadows throughout the day, trying to find where the bulbs might flourish best. I have almost zero full sun, but plenty of dappled shade and deep shade.

The second challenge is the wildlife. We have a mass of bunnies and squirrels at Shady Oaks Garden. I’m afraid to lose precious bulbs to their hungry tummies. The deer will probably be a challenge in the spring as well, although daffodils are more resistant.

As I’m planning out my garden, I have decided to embrace rather than fight the existing landscape. So shady woodland garden it is. Rather than formal plantings I am putting my bulbs in clusters around the bases of the existing trees and shrubs. I will be trying red pepper flakes to keep the critters at bay. This is a new tactic for me and I will have to keep you posted.

Looking good in my new coveralls! Ready to plant some bulbs. Please ignore the rust on my tools, I promise to clean them over the winter.

So far I have planted about 60 bulbs of mixed daffodils and red and white tulips, picked out by my ten year old. The soil is has significant clay and some rocks that make digging a chore. I decided not to do any amendments in the soil as there appeared to be a fair amount of organic matter despite the clay. Time will tell if this was wise. I aimed to get them all at least 6 inches down, which was maybe still too shallow for some of the bigger bulbs. After all that work, 60 bulbs is really not all that much when spread about a yard. It will take several more years of fall bulb planting to have an abundance of flowers in the spring.

If I have any additional time and money this fall, I would like the chance to put in some snowdrops and crocuses in as well, but this is probably wishful thinking as October is half over already. If you are looking for more information about bulb planting, this article from OSU Extension is great! Heck, most articles from OSU Extension are great!

https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/flowers-shrubs-trees/spring-flowering-bulbs

2 Comments on “Bulb Planting

  1. I’m in Zone 5, central Indiana, and as long as I get my bulbs in the ground by Thanksgiving, they do well. I start planting the larger bulbs first, so that if the ground does freeze a bit as the weeks pass, the smaller bulbs are the last, and easiest to plant. Good luck with the chili flakes…they didn’t deter my squirrels or deer at all.

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    • The squirrels were into it the next day! But when I checked it out, it mostly looks like they were seeing what was buried but then left the bulb alone. We’ll have to see if that is still the case in the middle of winter.

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