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 decorate the 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.
I hope it’s not too late as typically, snowdrop bulbs are sold green, which doesn’t store well and are only available locally or by mail-order for a short 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 randomly and close together- preferably fifty or a hundred to make a real impact. The general rule of thumb is to plant bulbs at a depth of about three times the bulb’s height. I’ve learned a quick way to install bulbs 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 dirt at the bottom of the trench and position bulbs 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, 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? AskMaryStone@gmail.com (and now on your favorite Podcast App.)
Column updated 2/7/21