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Planning and Planting a Spring Garden

by Karen Lawson, All About Lawns Columnist

Adding spring bulbs to your landscaping can produce a grand display of spring color and fragrance. Here are some tips for selecting and planting spring bulbs.

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Nurseries and garden supply companies typically provide a brilliant array of choices for spring flowers in their catalogs and websites. You can choose from traditional, new, and unusual varieties including crocus, daffodils, Dutch and grape hyacinths, iris, tulips, and more. Good selections of bulbs are also usually available at home and garden retailers.

Planning Your Garden before Planting
Bulbs are typically versatile, and can be planted among other plants such as roses, or can be placed in a dedicated bulb garden. It can be helpful to draw a diagram of what bulbs you want to plant and where. Design your garden so that taller plants such as iris and tulips won't obscure the lower growing bulbs such as crocus and hyacinths. Take your garden diagram along when shopping for bulbs--it can help you avoid overbuying.

Landscaping: Planting Your Bulbs
When landscaping, remember that your bulbs need soil with sufficient nutrients, and protection from the weather and predators. Deer, squirrels, and other varmints enjoy eating bulbs. Plant bulbs as recommended by the bulb supplier. Staggering planting dates at two-week intervals provides a longer blooming season. Good soil drainage in your garden can help prevent bulbs from rotting. If you have soil that doesn't drain well, mix in some sand or soil amendment that promotes good drainage. After planting, water your bulbs well, and cover them with a couple of inches of compost or mulch. This acts as a blanket that protects your bulbs during winter. Once freezing temperatures pass, begin watering your bulbs sparingly to "wake them up," and then as needed once they sprout.

University of Illinois Extension: Bulbs & More

About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with an avid interest in gardening and horticulture. She earned BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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