"Gardner’s regret" strikes when a gardener looks out in the early spring to see neighbors’ yards sporting plots of colorful crocus and dancing daffodils, and realizes he or she has failed to plant spring-flowering bulbs.  To have a wonderful array of flowers next spring, plant bulbs in the fall.  

Spring bloomers develop their roots in the fall, before winter really sets in.  This growth period is crucial to next spring’s successful flowering. Bulbs will perform better if you prepare the soil before planting them.  Dig out the soil to a depth of about 10” and work in organic matter, like peat moss or compost. A tool called a bulb planter is helpful; it is an open-tipped, cone-shaped tool with a handle on top that scoops deep but narrow holes to plant the bulbs. Be sure to mix in bone meal, or similar bulb fertilizer, before planting bulbs with pointed ends up. 

Have a Colorful Garden All Spring To ensure continuous bloom next spring, be sure to plant a mixture of early and mid-season bloomers.  For the very earliest bloomers, try crocus, narcissus, and glory of the snow.  Crocus blooms are yellow, blue or bi-colored and 3 to 5 inches tall.  Narcissus, also commonly called daffodil, is on a stem a foot or so high and ranges in color from white to dark yellows and oranges.  Deer, chipmunks, and squirrels won’t dig up narcissus bulbs, making it a good choice for many.  Glory of the Snow grows 6 to 8 inches tall, producing a blue flower with a white eye. Sweet-smelling hyacinth is a tallish, mid-season bloomer.  Its small version, hyacinth, blooms a little earlier.  Hyacinth includes pink, white, yellow and blue varieties.  Tulips, the most popular mid-season bloomers, come in an infinite variety of colors and bloom times. Spring flowering bulbs of all kinds are an important part of maintaining year-round color in any garden, and fall is the season to begin or expand your plantings. 

For further reading, view our other spring cleanup tips.