Quality counts. They should be very firm, with no mould, and as large as possible. The larger the bulb, the more expensive, but the more likely it will be to produce big, healthier blooms. When ordering from catalogues make sure that the bulbs will arrive before the soil freezes (this will vary widely across the country). Most bulbs can be planted late into October and right into November, as long as the ground?s workable.
Rule no. 1 is good drainage. If it isn?t, add masses of sand to your soil. You can usually plant sun-loving bulbs under trees since most leaves won?t have unfurled yet. Don?t plant in rows. Make sure the holes are deep enough to have the bulbs coming up in succession: dig deeply for big bulbs (8 to 10 inches, then fill in and add another layer of bulbs at the 5-inch level for smaller bulbs with a space from 1 to 2 inches apart). Next stage is to water deeply, then mulch to keep them from drying out.
How to keep squirrels away: my friend Juliet swears that if you give them a peanut a day they?ll leave things alone. I scream and yell at them and add a bit of chicken wire if it?s convenient. It?s no longer de rigueur to throw heavy duty cayenne pepper around so you?re on your own.