Consider this: spring is really three seasons - early, mid and late. You'll want to think about this when choosing what to plant each fall. Why? Because you don't want this scenario to happen in your garden next spring.
- Imagine the Scene: Your spring garden – featuring dozens of daffodils, tulips, and other flower bulbs that were planted with care in the previous fall – bursts into bloom. It’s amazing, a riot of glorious spring color that sweeps away the gray of winter. It lasts for up to three weeks, depending on the weather, and then... nothing. No more flowers, no more color, nothing but leaves and empty stems in your yard. Yet elsewhere, the spring’s colorful march continues. What happened?
- Military drill sergeants (who have an acronym for everything) have an acronym for this: PPPP (Pretty Poor Prior Planning, in the PG-rated version).
- When planting bulbs this fall, avoid disappointment next spring by employing a simple device: redefine Spring! Think of spring as three seasons, instead of one. Call them Early, Mid and Late. Now choose spring bulbs that bloom in each.
- This is actually easy to do. The Dutch have been growing and selling bulbs for more than four centuries. Over that time they’ve noticed that certain bulbs bloom at certain times in spring. Even bulbs of the same type can bloom at different times during the spring. Tulips and daffodils, for example, are divided into early-season bloomers, mid-season bloomers, late-season bloomers and sometimes even early mid-season, late early-season and so on.
Early Spring Bulb Combination Ideas
- To help home gardeners plan their spring gardens, the Dutch, who account for nearly 90 percent of all flower bulbs grown in North American gardens, put an estimated flowering time on the labels of all bulbs sold. Bulb catalogue companies do the same, including an estimated flowering time in the information they give on each variety they sell.
- All you need to know to decipher this information is that blooming times are relative. Information ranges from general early, mid and late-season designations to more specific month-by-month estimated flowering times. In each case, it’s important to be aware that these times are dependent upon the spring weather in your area. A blooming time of April, for example, refers to April bloom time in USDA zone 6, under average spring conditions. The reason for this is simple; the average winter low temperatures in Holland are roughly equivalent to those of our USDA zone 6 (areas as geographically diverse, but climatically similar as Dallas and Philadelphia), so that is what goes on the labels.
Mid Spring Bulb Combination Ideas
- If you are aware of your own climate zone, you need only make a slight adjustment to figure out when the bulbs should bloom in your garden. You can find a USDA zone map on several Internet sites, including the National Arboretum.
- The bottom line: to have a great spring garden that blooms from early season through late, read flower bulb labels and select a range of bulbs that bloom across all three spring seasons. Exactly when the flowers bloom will depend on nature and the spring conditions in your area that year, but by taking a few easy steps, you should have a terrific garden that satisfies for months on end.