Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on your favorite summer activity. There may not be any more fresh tomatoes in the vegetable garden or any petunias in the flower bed, but one of the best parts about the autumn season is planting perennial bulbs and waiting till spring for them to fill your yard with color and fragrance. If you have yet to experience the joys of fall gardening, it’s time to get started! There is still time to take a trip to your local garden center in Independence and pick out some bright bulbs that you can hide away in the ground for a couple months. It may be a bit tricky getting started, but with these tips, you can be sure to have a bed full of flowers each spring.
Prep the Site
If you’re starting from scratch, it takes some elbow grease to remove the sod, rid the area of weeds, and create clean lines at the edge of the bed and the grass. At TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living, our garden center professionals can help with the design and create a space in either your front or backyard for a luxurious garden. Overall, it doesn’t matter where the bed is located, as long as the soil drains properly. Bulbs don’t like overly wet soil, so try to avoid planting where water collects. Bulbs also like a lot of sun so keep in mind where the sun will be in the spring.
The first thing you need to know once the site has been prepared is what the pH level of the soil is. This can be determined by a simple test. Perennial flowers prefer a pH balance of between 6.2 and 7.0. If the soil in your yard isn’t between this range, there are soil amendments that can help reach the right level, including peat moss, compost, and manure. Adding a fertilizer into the soil will also help the flowers reach their full potential.
Planting the Bulbs
The bulbs should be planted depending on the garden zone. Independence is in zone 6b so bulbs should be planted in the ground about four to six weeks before the soil freezes. If you purchase bulbs from our garden center too early, the bulbs can be stored in a cool, dry place until the soil is ready for them to be planted.
Keep bulbs in the packaging until it’s time to plant them. For some flowers, like tulips, you can’t tell which color they are just by looking at the bulb. If you’re planning a garden that is full of flowers and want colors to remain separate, you could end up with a pink tulip in the middle of your white tulips.
When it comes time to actually put the bulbs in the ground, loosen the soil so that it’s workable. Soil amendments can help with this if this is your first time starting a garden, as well as adding essential nutrients to the soil. Remove any rocks or other debris that could keep the flowers from growing. Larger bulbs should be planted at least eight inches deep, and smaller bulbs at about five inches. Place the bulb so that the pointy side is facing the sky and the rounded end is facing the dirt. If you do plant the bulb in the wrong direction, in most cases, the roots will still grow downward and the flowers will grow upward. Fill up the hole with topsoil and gently press it down, but do not over pack it. Water slightly, but there’s no need to continue watering. Contact our garden center for some expert advice on planting bulbs.
What Are the Best Perennials to Plant?
This is where you get to have some fun! For gardening lovers, shopping at a garden center is a real treat, so let your inner designer run wild.
- Dutch Iris: Irises grow to be about two feet tall and have deep, intense colors like blue, purple, yellow, and orange. They are recognizable by the yellow blotch that is found on the inside of the petal, which falls outward from the center.
- Tulips: An Independence favorite, tulips are thin with an oval flower shape when closed and a teacup shape when open. For a truly impressive garden, plant about three dozen bulbs, and you can expect to see them every spring. The Darwin hybrid tulips are tall, making them great for cutting and displaying in vases.
- Daffodils: These flowers are easy to grow and can stand up to cold weather, making them perfect for the Independence climate. They are naturally yellow or white, while some have a salmon color and have an uneven petal edge.
For even beginning gardeners, planting perennial bulbs is easy and fun. For experienced gardeners, you can still get in that final gardening project and await the spring for a garden full of color and personality. For design ideas, gardening tips, and year-round lawn care, contact the professionals at TLC Nursery & Outdoor Living. We love gardening and everything that goes along with it and can’t wait to share our passion with you.