Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Planting Bulbs

I planted 5 bulbs, “Fragrant Hyacinth Mixture” Hyacinthus orientalis, last weekend. At 2 inches, they are not the largest hyacinth bulbs I ever bought. I bought them at a fund raiser. I kept telling myself it was for a good cause.

It’s easy to see which end is up on hyacinths - pointy end up. You can even see some dried roots in the one upside down bulb in the picture below.

I wanted to plant them with other hyacinths already in my garden. I can’t be certain exactly where the other hyacinths are. All signs of hyacinths are long gone. I didn’t want to dig up the old bulbs or worse, chop them into pieces with my shovel.

Years ago when I started planting spring blooming bulbs, I used tongue depressors in spring to mark the spots where I wanted to add more bulbs. It was easy to see where the empty spots were when the bulbs bloomed. Then in fall I knew where to dig. This year I didn’t plan to plant more hyacinths. The fund raiser changed that.

So I had to take a guess.

I knew the spot I wanted would be somewhere in the mass of sweet alyssum. The alyssum self sows every year and camouflages the hyacinth leaves as they fade. I love the sweet scent of alyssum in the warm sun. I hated to pull them out before frost but I had to clean out a spot to plant the new bulbs.

Then I dug a hole about 6 inches deep. I placed the bulbs closer than the 4 to 6 inches apart recommended because I like to have a clump of blooms.

After covering the bulbs, I watered well to settle the soil around the bulbs and dissipate the bulb odor from bulb eating critters. As a little insurance from marauding squirrels, I sprinkled the ground with cayenne pepper. It may not help but it can’t hurt.

For some expert advice and interesting facts on planting spring blooming bulbs from Doug Green, click here and here.

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