When I was ten my grandmother gifted us tulip bulbs to plant alongside our home. She had brought them back from a trip to Holland and waited for the fall to present them to us. We spent the afternoon helping her dig holes along our path and dropping the bulbs in with their little tops pointing up. It felt like we were tucking away special gifts that would be opened in the spring. We had to wait through the long, cold winter of Minnesota, but when spring finally arrived it seemed even more glorious after enduring the dark, bleak days. The snow finally started melting and by April we knew the tulips should be peaking through the soil. We waited, but they never came. What happened to the tulips? Our answer arrived on the other side of the yard- random tulips started popping up everywhere! Apparently, the squirrels had found our fall bulbs, dug them up, and moved them to another area of the yard only to forget about them later. Every spring after that we always chuckled when the tulips arrived, randomly planted by our burrowing friends.
Have you ever tucked away bulbs in the fall for a delightful spring surprise? They are easy to care for and require little maintenance after being placed in the ground. Here are a few tips:
Plant your bulbs no later than the end of December so they have time to chill in the ground and bloom by spring. We usually plant our bulbs in October.
Dig a hole two to three times deeper than the width of the bulb, place the bulb in the hole with its tip pointing up, cover with dirt, and water thoroughly after planting.
Bulbs look best planted in groupings of three or more of the same flower.
To keep burrowing animals from digging up the bulbs, we have had success adding a bit of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the planting area.
Add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to keep moisture in the ground and to protect the bulbs in the winter.
Pick out a few bulbs this fall, drop them in the ground, and enjoy this simple gardening delight. Happy planting! xo