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Last Call for Planting Spring Flowering Bulbs

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Snow drops

Snowdrops (Galanthus)

Hello fellow readers,

Last call for fall bulb planting! Kim from Hackettstown asked if I planted the snowdrops I wrote about in March. Thanks for the reminder Kim as my note to self seems to have gone missing.

Snowdrops (Galanthus) create beautiful carpets of adorable little nodding white bells that sit above grass-like foliage.  They’re often seen roadside or along a woodland edge just about when winter is coming to an end and resemble blankets of snow which is why I adore them. (Those of you that know me, know my love for the white stuff -sorry).

I hope it’s not too late as typically snowdrop bulbs are sold green which doesn’t store well and therefore are only available locally or by mail-order for a short period of time in the early fall.  Matt Bishop, author of Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus, writes there is a shift “especially by sellers who pot-grow snowdrops for the full three-year cycle and sell them in their dormant state.” So I may be in luck!

Snowdrops take a year to become established so don’t be disappointed if they don’t flower the first year.  But they’ll begin to develop into thick patches by year-two and are deer resistant and carefree as there is no need to divide them.

It’s still a perfect time to plant spring-blooming bulbs before the heavy frost.  Rather than a contrived row, plant bulbs closely, in random and preferably big quantities of 50 or 100 to make a real impact.   Generally, bulbs should be planted at a depth about three times the height of the bulb. I’ve learned a quick way to plant is to dig a trench as deep as your bulb planting directions specify – placing the soil on old plywood or stiff cardboard as you dig.  Loosen the soil at the bottom of the trench and position bulbs typically about 3” apart planting the pointy end up. Slide the soil back in and if the soil is dry water thoroughly.

If you can’t figure out which is the pointy end just plant the bulbs on their side.  They’re geotropic which means they’ll right themselves as they grow. In other words, bulbs know which end is up. Smart bulbs.  Now, where’s that note to self?

Garden dilemmas?




Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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