Every spring and fall bulbs arrive, and not to brag, but we've been told by our bulb suppliers that we have the most extensive bulb selection on the West Coast. Right in your own backyard, Sacramento.
Bulbs...they are lumpy, bumpy, and downright ugly sometimes. But once planted under six inches of soil, add a little water, sunshine, and time, these bulbs turn into something magical. The flowers grown from bulbs brighten your garden and your spirits to let you know spring is on its way.
If you are a novice gardener, you may not know there are two seasons to plant bulbs. First, fall bulb planting season is the end of August- November. If planted correctly, fall bulbs will bloom in late winter or early Spring. And, they are the most popular, probably because they include very recognizable varities like Tulips, Daffodils & Irises. Secondly, spring bulbs are planted in late winter and bloom in early summer.
Let's talk fall bulbs in three settings. Once you choose your desired setting, you can pick one of our bulb recipes for a perfect fall planting weekend project.
- Plant bulbs in a container and plant winter annuals right on top of the bulbs. That way, you don't have to stare at bare soil for five months. As the plants emerge, they will compliment the colorful annuals and create a beautiful bouquet-filled container.
- Plant bulbs within your borders, or intermixed with other perennials and shrubs for added color in spring.
- Planting a container of 100% bulbs. You could tuck this container out of the way until they start blooming.
1. 'Daydream' Hybrid Tulips + Forget-me-nots
Hybrid tulips are the tallest and largest flowering tulips. Best for cutting! The 'Daydream' Tulip opens yellow to orange. It pairs incredibly well with the vibrant blue of Forget-me-nots. With Hybrid Tulips, they need to be chilled in order to bloom. In our mild climate, it doesn't get cold enough for long enough, so pop these in the fridge for six weeks before planting.
2. 'Blue Parrot' Tulip + Purple Violas
Parrot Tulips are known for their spectacular ruffled and feathery edges. The 'Blue Parrot' tulip has mauve-ish blue flowers and 18" long stems. Try planting bulbs shoulder to shoulder in a 16-18" pot. Or plant them with a little more space in between and then plant those purple violas right on top! Come spring, your container will be overflowing with blooms.
3. Narcissus 'Salome' + Frostkiss 'Penny's Pink' Hellebore
Narcissus (Daffodil) 'Salome' is in one of the most popular classes of daffodils because of it's large, vibrant center cups. Narcissus is a welcome addition to borders, beds, containers, rock gardens, under deciduous trees and natural areas in the landscape. It's recommended to plant in groupings of at least six bulbs together to make an impact. Plant near a front door with a grouping of Narcissus 'Salome' with Frostkiss 'Penny's Pink' Hellebore for a stunning combination.
4. White Ranunculus + White Tulips + Grape Hyacinth
We got the recipe inspiration from wedding bouquets. There is something so pristine and fresh about pairing these flowers together. If mixing in a border, be sure to plan the Tulips in the back, the Ranunculus in the middle and the Grape Hyacinth (Muscari) in the foreground. You won't be disappointed with this recipe, especially if you like to cut for indoor bouquets.
5. 'Earl of Essex' Bearded Iris + Columbine + Lupine
The 'Early of Essex' Bearded Iris considered a "tall" Bearded Iris and is actually reblooming. Fun, right!? It's clean white petals are veined on the edges with violet markings and have a gentle and slight ruffling. Plant Columbine and Lupine next to your Bearded Iris for a look that is very much akin to being in a natural woodland setting. We love all the textures involved! This planting recipe would be best for a garden border.
These different recipes can be a jumping-off point for you to get out of the gardening rut of planting the same old things each year. Expand your horizons, grow as a gardener, and plant some bulbs this fall. A special thank you to Sunset Western Garden for bulb recipe inspiration.
Start your bulb garden this fall and when you least expect it...in the middle of winter these little bulbs with brighten up your garden and be a ray of sunshine for all who see them. Visit any of our store locations in Sacramento for hands-on help choosing bulbs. Happy planting!
Geek out on specific plant information for Irises, Tulips & Daffodils!
Photo Credit: 'Daydream' Tulip from The Biking Gardener I thebikinggardener.com