Preparing your garden for a long-flowering bulb festival of colour, scent and texture takes planning and preparation, especially if you want to maximise the flowering seasons for each variety and ensure that from the first chink of Spring to the last ray of Autumnal light, your garden is a vibrant sight.
To help you with your planning we’ve put together this useful Get Your Bulb Garden Ready Guide together!
Step 1: Knowing what, where and how much…
Get started by laying out the areas you want to plant. It may help to sketch these out so that you can measure approximate areas, which will help you know how much fertiliser, mulch etc. you’ll need, and also how many bulbs you’ll need to fill the various areas.
Do some research into which bulbs you want to plant, what their planting season and flowering period is, and create a chart or a list with these details so that you have your plan in place once you get planting.
Step 2: Preparing the Ground
The most important part of growing bulbs is ensuring that they have ideal soil conditions to begin their growth cycles, no matter when they are destined to flower.
To ensure your garden has the best soil conditions, you’ll need to get the following items:
- Mantis Tiller
- Garden Gloves
- Hose and soft spray nozzle
- Bone Meal
- Organic Flower Food
- Bulb Fertilizer
Now that you have the plan, the areas you want to plant and the equipment to get the soil prepared, get your hands dirty! You’ll need to cut and remove any grass from the areas you intend to plant (except for bubs in the green).
You then need to till the areas to remove any large rocks, loosen the soil, and mix in your compost and mulch to ensure good drainage, lots of nutrients and as few impediments as possible. Ideally, you should aim to prepare the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches.
Step 3: Preparing to Plant your bulbs
Now that your soil is prepared, you need to create the spaces for your bulbs before planting them.
The easiest method is to use a trowel or mantis tiller to create furrows into which you’ll plant your bulbs. You need to create the furrows to a depth that matches the planting depth of your planned bulbs so ensure to know the right depth before proceeding.
To help promote good root development, lay some bone meal, bulb fertilizer or phosphorous into the furrows.
Step 4: Planting your Bulbs
Now that the beds are prepared it’s time to get your bulbs in. You’ll know exactly what you’re planting and generally the correct method is to plant the bulbs with the pointy side up. Depending on what you’re planting, you’ll need to space them correctly too – for example daffodil bulbs are 4 to 6 inches apart and tulip bulbs are 3 to 6 inches apart. Smaller bulbs, like crocus bulbs, can be planted 2 inches apart.
If you’re planting bulbs with a range of heights, remember to plant the taller bulbs at the back, and the shorter bulbs at the front of the bed. And the best displays come from larger clumps of bulbs rather than just placing a few bulbs next to each other.
Cover your bulbs with soil to about half the depth of the furrow (i.e. replace about 50% of the soil) and then add a balanced, slow-release fertilizer. Water gently using the soft-spray nozzle, being careful not to over-water as this may cause root rot.
Then replace the remainder of the soil on top to fill the furrows completely.
Finally, add a layer of mulch to hold moisture.
By following the above steps and selecting bulbs that span the duration of the flowering season you should have a mass of flowers from early Spring right through to late Autumn or even early Winter.
Visit our various bulb pages to find out more about which bulbs to plant and when they flower, and remember you can always ask us for advice!