Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Posted By: in Bulbs

Bulb DesignGone are the days for straight soldierly rows of single variety bulbs…unless you are colour blocking for some intricate design. If you take a page out of Mother nature’s book you’ll notice drifts and groupings of flowers.

Similarly, plant your bulbs in drifts and groupings. Layer your varieties with similar bloom times to create stunning spring focal points. Here are some tricks of the trade to help you design like a pro.

Here are a few bulb basics…

from some questions we get about bulbs frequently at the nursery:

3 Times The Height if the Bulb

  • In general, we plant them three times the depth of the bulb.
  • If you accidently plant them upside down, don’t worry. Bulbs will find the surface. They’ll just take a tiny bit longer. If you are not sure which end is up…every gardener has one of these days, plant it on it’s side.
  • Drainage, drainage, drainage. Whether planting bulbs in pots or in the ground, excellent drainage is essential!!
  • Fertilizer goes into the planting hole…bulb food or bonemeal will do nicely.
  • Do not cut back the leaves or tie or fold. The leaves are using photosynthesis to create food to store in the bulb which is responsible for next years bloom. Anything that will interfere with photosynthesis will interfere with next years bloom. You can cut, fold, pleat and even weave the leaves if you fancy once they’ve yellowed. This means they are finished producing food…unless they are yellowing before they’ve even bloomed if this is happening refer back to the drainage line.
  • A great digging spade is all you need to plant most of the time. I do not dig individual holes. I just dig a wide hole and usually just pour the bulbs right in after the fertilizer. A bulb trowel is another option if you prefer.

Bulb Fertilizers

Here are some design tips and tricks:

When creating your fall and winter planters, don’t forget to tuck in some Crocus bulbs or tiny Narcissi, they are fully hardy and will be a wonderful surprise in late winter/early spring.

You can layer bulbs by putting the larger ones on the bottom and the smaller ones on the top.  Daffodils and Grape Hyacinth are a classic example.  The blues and yellows make an eye catching combo.  Remember to choose bulbs with smaller strappy foliage when combining with the smaller ones.  Last year I used tulips and smaller muscari and I had to lift up the great big leaves of the tulips I chose to even see the little muscarii…lesson learned.

Daffodils and Muscari

Create a big drift of bulbs around the base of a large leaved perennial like a hosta for instance.  This way the leaves of the hosta will grow up to cover the spent foliage of the bulbs.

If you want to extend the bloom time of the bulbs in a container, plant some deeper than the others.   I wanted a massed planter of red tulips and I wanted it to last for at least a month.  I planted some of the bulbs twice as deep as they should be and then added soil and another layer, soil and the final layer.  The bulbs closest to the surface came up first, then the next row and then the next.  I had neighbours asking me what variety they were because they’d lasted so long.

You can mix varieties will similar bloom times and you can mix different colours of the same bulbs you can even use the bulb layering technique above with graduated colours so it looks like your white tulibs start getting pink and then deep rose…you get the picture. 

Just try not to mix parrot type tulips with the regulars.  The parrot tulips carry a virus that allowed them to have their interesting colour streaking.  It doesn’t look so good on the regulars though.  For those of you who are designed challenged in this area there are combo packages made up for you!

Squirrels!  Mine have exquisite taste.  To avoid feeding them your bulbs, you can plant a particularly stinky bulb for them  - the Frittilaria. 

Fritillaria

It’s actually a lovely looking flower and if you plant some among your groupings their stink will hide the smell of the tastier bulbs.  You can also add large squares of chicken wire over your plantings and then cover with mulch so you don’t have to look at it.

So, get out there, be daring and have fun!!  My neighbour up the street planted a heart out of crocus bulbs in the lawn…so romantic.  Hope it worked out.  Don’t forget to send me a picture :)

P.S. dont forget about Surrey Memorial Hospitals Tulips for Tomorrow fundraising campaign. Drop by Art's Nursery and pick up a pack or two. $10 bucks get you 10 Princess Irene Tulips with all proceeds going to the hospital.

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle is a certified horticulturalist and Landscape designer. She is currently an up and coming apple guru, growing over 120 cultivars which explains her passion for edible garden design. Laurelle works part time for Art’s Nursery. You can also interact with her through Art’s monthly newsletter, our blog and our gardening channel on YouTube.


Sponsored Advertisement

Recent Posts

Thursday, January 14, 2021
Dormant Oil For Fruit Trees And Roses

What Is Dormant Oil? The Dormant Oil spray kit at Art's Nursery is a combination of mineral oil and...

Thursday, January 14, 2021
Spring Colour In January

Happy 2021! Even though it’s winter time, you can add little splashes of colour and freshen up your ...

Friday, December 18, 2020
How To: Dress Your Table For Christmas

Trim garland to size of table.  Twist and fan out the cedar so it is green side up and no wire is sh...

Friday, December 11, 2020
Hellebores Are Here

Hellebores, also known as “Christmas Rose” are herbaceous or evergreen perennials that bloom in the ...

Friday, December 11, 2020
Fresh Greens And Live Plants For Christmas

Join us as we tour some of the fresh, bright and sparkling selections here at our Nursery in Surrey....

Friday, December 4, 2020
Hummingbird Feeder Heaters

With winter just around the corner and colder days ahead, we are calling Fraser Valley residents to ...

Friday, December 4, 2020
Dressing Your Porch For Christmas

We’re in December and it’s a lovely time to be welcomed by a cheerful and festive front door. If you...

Friday, November 13, 2020
13 Christmas Home Decor Themes

Thank you to Shelley Levis and our team at Art’s Nursery for working so hard the last few months on ...


Tag Cloud

Dormant Oil when is it too late to spray dormant oil how to treat fruit treescoco primulas bellis camellias witch hazel hellebores potted bulbs including hyacinth paper white crocus tulips mini daffodilsWhite Pine Eucalyptus deer decorations driftwood pieces bird ornaments fairy lights Table Decor Live Greens Christmas Dinner Diva Hellebore Milner's Merlot Love Bug Lenten Rose Anna's Red Hellebore Jacob Christmas Rose Pippa's Purple Hellebore Shooting Star Lenten Rose Amaryllis Bulbs Poinsettias Christmas Boughs Live Holly Christmas Gifts Live Wreathes Porch PotsHummingbirds Hummingbird Feeder Hummingbird Feeder HeaterPorch Decor How To Decorate Your Porch Christmas Porch Design How To Hang Garland Porch Pot Christmas Home Decor Ideas Christmas Home Decorating Cactmas Cozy Cabin Home Decor Astrology Christmas Decorations Country Christmas Canadian Christmas Spirit Bear Winter Blues Thuja Occidentalis Yew Trees Thuja Plicata Excelsa Broad Leaf Evergreen Portugese Laurel or prunus lusitanica Prunus laurocerasus Boxwood Varieties Japanese Convex Holly ilex crenata convexa Camelia Deciduous Hedging Trees Privet lagustrum Smoke Bush cotinus coggygria Burning Bush euonymus alatus Are Yew Tree Berries Poisonous Why Is My Yew Tree Turning Brown or Yellow How To Prune A Yew Tree How To Identify A Yew Tree When To Plant A Yew Tree Melford Yew Hicks Yew Irish Golden Yew Taxus X Media Hm Eddie Taxus baccata ‘Repandens’ Flushing Parade Yew Hillii Yewboxwood shrubs how to trim a topiary growing and caring for boxwood shrubsPumpkin Planter DIY Fall Decor Planter Fall Home Decor Handmade Fall Decor Planters Halloween Decor Halloween DIY Corona Tools Fall Gardening Tools Spring Brace Rake Flexible leaf rake Fixed Tine Leaf Rake Fixed leaf rake Fixed Tine Shrub Rake Bow Head Rake 3 prong cultivator Dandelion Weeder Oscillating Hoe Diamond HoeTwisty Pine - Pre Bonsai Conifer Dwarf Japanese Yew Conifer Dwarf Pagoda Japanese Holly Conifer Jersey Jewel Japanese Holly Conifer Loowit Japanese Hemlock Conifer Cole's Prostrate Canadian Hemlock Conifer Catherine Elizabeth Japanese White Pine Conifer Kinpo Japanese White Pine Conifer Horstmann Bristlecone Pine Conifer Iseli Green Hinoki Cypress Conifer Butter Ball Hinoki Cypress Conifer Dwarf Golden Hinoki Cypress Conifer Gemstone Dwarf Hinoki Cypress Conifer Shimpaku Chinese Juniper Conifer Cotoneaster Shrub franchetii Wintergreen - Gaultheria Massachusetts - Kinnikvnnick Skimia Reevesiaia Gold Pillar Monterey Cypress Irish Yew by Monrovia Fall Gardening Chlorophyll Deciduous Trees Japanese Maple Trees Fall Garden Fall Colours Why do leaves change colourYuletide Camellia Emerald Carousel Barberry Twombly's Red Sentinel Japanese Maples Black Mondo Grass 4" Ornamental Peppers Fall Planters Pink Heather Fantasy Pocahontas Anemone Forest Pansy Redbud Tree Assorted Dried Fall Botanicals Harvest Corn Ornamental Corn Wheat StalksTopiary Design How To Do Spiral Pruning Tree Pruning Cactarium Succulent House Succulents in Vancouver Cactus In Vancouver Tropical Plants In Vancouver Greenhouse for Succulents Greenhouse for tropical plants Succulents in Surrey Succulents in Langley Cactus in Surrey

Blog Roll

Other interesting gardening blogs that we follow include:

Blog RSS Feed

Keep in touch by subscribing to our RSS/Atom News Feeds


Art's Nursery Ltd.

8940 192nd Street,
Surrey, BC, Canada,
V4N 3W8

Tel: (604) 882-1201
Fax: (604) 882-5969
Email: info@artsnursery.com
Hours:Hours of Operation
Map:Map & Directions
Contact:Contact Us

Art's Nursery is dog friendly

Subscribe to Our E-Newsletter

Copyright (c) 2021 Art's Nursery Ltd.  | 8940 192nd Street, Surrey, BC, Canada, V4N 3W8  | tel: 604.882.1201  | SiteMap  | Privacy Statement |