Fall = bulb planting time. A cool period in the ground is essential for the development of flowering bulbs. When the weather warms, the change in temperature sparks a metabolic change that allows the plant to expend the energy that is necessary for sprouting. The best place to plant spring-flowering bulbs is somewhere they have room to spread, because given the right conditions and minimal care, great naturalizers will eventually fill in areas providing high-impact beauty for many years to come. Once you select a site for your bulbs, Mother Nature does most of the work. Most soil types and partial-to-full sun conditions are perfect for naturalizing varieties like daffodils, snowdrops, crocus, alliums, and hyacinths. These bulbs will colonize vigorously and thrive under deciduous trees.
This past weekend, my sister, Christina, helped me plant a few hundred bulbs in our front lawn. Come spring, I have a vision of this area being overtaken by a swath of butter yellow double daffodils and blue muscari, so we lovingly tucked these bulbs in two areas under the mature trees hoping that in a few years, they will multiply. First, we spray-painted two large amoeba shapes in the front lawn to mark our planting zones. We used used both a hand trowel and a planting auger (an attachment for a cordless drill) to drill the recommended depth for each type of bulb we plantedl. We sprinkled a little bone meal in each hole before covering with soil and tamping down well.
Spring bulbs do not mature until late spring, so be careful not to cut back the foliage too soon once the flower has wilted. Let the plant die back naturally if possible, or wait until late spring to mow back, since the leaves help gather energy which will be stored in the bulb for the next year’s bloom.