If you have a fall to-do list, be sure to add “planting spring-flowering bulbs”. New gardeners are enchanted when they see these harbingers of spring and are sometimes dismayed when they find that the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs is in the fall. Spring-flowering bulbs pack a punch with their color, size range and adaptability. Who would think such lumpy brown things could bring such joy?
Everybody knows and loves the three most common spring-flowering bulbs—tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths—but that is just the beginning. Consider the ornamental onion and species iris and tulips. Species iris and tulips are the parents of our modern day hybrids. They may not be as tall but they are certainly showy. If you’ve had problems in the past with your tulip patch gradually getting smaller, this is because many hybrids are not as winter hardy as their ancestors. Give species tulips a try. These additions enrich the spring garden without the fuss of being winter wimps.
Spring-flowering bulbs and critters can be a problem. I have a healthy vole and rabbit population in my yard and they adore tulips and hyacinths. To remedy this, I’ve planted lots of daffodils, which they find distasteful.
To find out more on spring-flowering bulbs, this NebGuide has information on varieties, planting depth, height and flower color: http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g1742.pdf .