Season 2 • Episode 19 - October 9, 2023

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Now is the time to start getting your spring flower bulbs in the ground. A little work now and you will be rewarded with great spring color! We stopped by Portland Nursery on Division (503-788-9000) to talk with Shelley about her favorite (and the most popular) bulbs for spring. She talked about the large number of bulbs that you can plant now including daffodils, crocus, alliums and tulips. The first blooms of the spring are the crocus. Actually a lot of these bloom in the winter. They are also the shortest of the spring bloomers, but you can’t beat the colors! They are so vibrant after a winter of blah! Next are the daffodils. They are the signature flower of the early spring. Most people think of the old standby of King Alfred, the bright yellow daffodil, but nowadays they come in so many other colors! You can get creams, pinks and peach-colored blooms. Plus they bloom for a long time. You can also get smaller jonquil varieties that won’t flop over as much. The final flower of the spring garden that most people are familiar with is the tulip. These are late spring bloomers with a huge array of colors. You can also get double petals and blended colors. If you get the larger varieties they can be floppy in a heavy rain, but there is nothing like a tulip in the spring.

Shelley recommended that you plant all different types of bulbs in your garden beds, then you can have waves of color for months. But how deep can you plant them? The package will generally tell you, but a good rule of thumb is to go down about two- to three-times the size of the bulb. She also recommended that you plant large groupings of bulbs so they come up in a large bunch as opposed to planting single bulbs throughout your garden. You can plant them anytime now until December. This will give them time to experience the colder temperatures which helps trigger their blooms later in the spring. Of course you will want to plant them in well-drained soil. This will help prevent them from rotting.

If you notice that your well-established bulbs bloom less after a few years, they may be fighting for nutrients with newer, baby, bulbs. Dig them up and replant them in the fall in another area of your garden.

If you don’t have room in your garden or you are lacking gardening space, she reminded us that bulbs are great in pots, too! You can create waves of color by layering your spring-blooming bulbs. You can do that by using different layers of bulbs in a pot so you can have color that lasts all spring! You can use daffodils, tulips and crocuses in three different layers. Then top it all off with some great fall color plants. When the warm days of spring arrive you will have these bulbs blooming at different times and will have bursts of color for months. Don’t worry, the bulbs will find their way up through the plants in the pot. For the best results always remember to start with a quality potting soil, bulb fertilizer and water them well!

Other bulbs that people forget about planting during the fall are onions and garlic. These can be planted now so they can establish roots and then by late June or July you can harvest them for use in your kitchen.

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