Burnett: Think about spring bulbs now

Get your spring bulbs in as early as possible to allow for a nice long cool rooting-in period.

This fall I plan on creating a nice showing of spring flowering bulbs in my front bed where I removed three junipers that were taking over.

It’s been years since I’ve actually done this so I intend to follow all the guidelines I have taught others to do along the way. Colour combinations are important as well as the height variations.

Probably the most important consideration is the timing of the blooms. There is little value in making sure the colours work together and the various heights are in concert if the blossoms don’t come at the same time.

Or if I want to have a long showing I may just use the various blooming times to my advantage by staging the planting to show colour from early spring to early summer.

Spring bulbs are planted in the fall and so often over the years people have asked me about them when they are in bloom in the spring when they are not available. Bulbs are showing up in the garden centres now and planting can take place from now until freeze-up.

I’ve planted bulbs successfully as late as January and February as long as the ground is soft enough to dig. Its best, however, to get them in as early as possible to allow for a nice long cool rooting-in period so when you hear someone say don’t plant them until cool weather arrives or they will start to grow and be vulnerable to winter freezing, you are getting the wrong information.

What I say to that is then what about the bulbs that are in the ground from last year; are they going to start to grow prematurely?

Bulbs need the dormancy followed by warm weather and longer days before they grow foliage and then flowers. The popular spring bulbs include snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and other narcissus, hyacinths, and of course tulips.

Alliums of various types and other less common species are also available to plant in the fall. Lilies are best planted in the fall, however, they are difficult to find at this time in the market place. They become available in early spring in the garden stores and my advice is to get them in as soon as you can because they deteriorate quickly.

•••

Last Saturday it was an honour to give a hand to landscape the front yard for Chelsea Ray who was left behind just a few weeks before she was to marry her sweetheart of many years, Rene Bourgault, who was lost tragically in a white water river accident. Talk about community spirit. When I arrived there must have been 20 to 30 young strong healthy guys going at it—moving soil laying blocks and compacting crusher chips. By the time 4 o’clock rolled around the yard was transformed into a beautiful landscape complete with shrubs, Natures Gold premium mulch and a gorgeous installation of SYN Lawn.

Thanks to the guys from the Jaycees and Kelly O’Brian’s and of course Rene’s professionals from SYN Lawn for making this happen.