Home garden design > Bulbs and Kindred Plants

Bulbs and Kindred Plants

Bulbs and Kindred PlantsThere are many little gardens walled round with sleeping shrubs and trees that show no outward evidence of awakening from their long rest until Mother Earth changes the wrinkles of her winter-worn face to smiles of Crocus, Snowdrop, and Scilla.

It seems but yesterday that I imagined I saw the green creeping into the grass and today the lawn is bursting into bloom with tiny gold and blue adventurers. Surely spring has come to stay, for the little brook is pillowed with tufts of green grass, and the Willow has ventured to put forth her catkins. My garden hopes are awakened at the sight of these heralds, and I must at once be about cleaning off my bulb beds for the dazzling gay pageant to display its glory near my garden paths.

It is good to find that there is a widespread interest in the culture of bulbs and their allies. Many garden clubs in small towns throughout the country, and practically every park commissioner in large cities, give orders to go forward with the preparation of the bulb beds in the fall. With the planting of the bulbs there is created in many hearts a hope in the display and bloom and a genuine civic pride. All of this kind of interest has a good influence on the life and character of individual and community.

If one wishes to succeed, there are certain steps that must be taken and certain suggestions that must be fitted into each local problem. One of the most important is the consideration of the soil and its preparation.

A heavy soil should be lightened by two or three inches of sand and two inches of horse manure well worked into it. Fresh manure should never be used at the time of planting, and it is most advisable to apply the fresh manure in the spring before the fall planting. The manure will become thoroughly rotted during the summer and will not endanger any of the bulbs. The soil must be loosened to a depth of one or one and a half feet, but the subsoil should never be brought to the surface. All soils should be kept open or friable, and this will insure more aeration and a higher temperature.

If decayed stable manure or pulverized sheep manure is applied in the fall, stir the soil to a depth of twelve inches. If fresh cow manure is used, it should be in the soil three or four months before planting.

Light soils should be cultivated to a depth of from twelve to fifteen inches and considerable very well-rotted stable manure incorporated so as to hold the moisture as well as to furnish the necessary plant food. The soil in all cases must be rich, friable, deep, well supplied with humus, and well drained.

The majority of our bulbs are planted in September, October, and even as late as November if the soil is not frozen or too wet. It is well to plant so that the root system is well established before the winter sets in. Never plant bulbs right after a rain or while the soil is soggy. Of course, a sandy soil seldom gets soggy, and a few hours after a rain the soil may be easily worked and the bulbs planted.

If one wants a perfect display of bloom of about the same height, plant only solid bulbs of a uniform size. A medium solid bulb is far better than an extra large spongy one. Bulbs should be planted a uniform depth in the soil according to their kind. The proper depth of planting is affected somewhat by the type of soil. Bulbs are planted nearer the surface of a heavy soil and deeper in a light soil. If the planting is on an eastern or south­eastern exposure, the bulbs frequently bloom earlier than those set out on a northern or western exposure.