Bulb planting in the cold

I am now attempting to work on my new iMac and if anyone tells you it’s dead simple, forget it. To an inveterate PC user it’s yet another learning curve.

I’m getting conflicting comments about when to clean up, put the garden to bed, when to plant bulbs so they aren’t squirrel food. It’s an almost steady 10C around here so it’s getting close to bulb planting time. If you live in a much colder area, digging holes, keeping the bulbs cool and the soil thawed will mean you can go on planting bulbs until well after frost has hardened the ground.

The idea of planting when it gets cold is so the bulbs won’t break the dormancy they need to survive. Put then in too early and they’ll break dormancy, put them in too late and you’ll be so miserable you’ll hate bulbs. So I intend to head outside next week and start putting my own in.

Given the rapaciousness of the squirrels (sorry Juliet), I’ll roll them in blood meal and then do the planting the usual way: two to three times the height of the bulb itself (not the plant). The deeper you plant the later the bulbs will come up and the more likely the animals will leave them alone since there’ll be other food around.

My problem is always to find new places to put things or trying to tuck new bulbs in with old ones to get a new effect. Last year I was given some incredible pink lily flowered bulbs and I intend to put in Allium purpurea along with some new purple tulips to get a swatch of purple pink with the burgeoning of new green. These are near a Fothergilla gardenii which has gorgeous white bottlebrush blooms about the samee time. It will be incredible.

Now all I need is to be able to actually get out there and freeze my hands and knees and do it. Maybe tomorrow

Re garden clean up, give it a rest for another week or so. I find it fascinating to hear people’s attitudes to garden clean up. Some people just want to scrape the place clean as though it will clear their minds for another year. I don’t like seeing stuff go until it looks so awful I can’t bear it anymore.

I’ll be back on Monday. I’ve got a story due to Gardening Life next week and must get on with things. And I’m just about finished doing the slide show for my talk in Ottawa which I’m really looking forward to.