Bulb Selections for The Fall

Every year at this time I take all my gardening catalogs out that have been collecting over the summer and begin to make decisions about what bulbs to order this fall to  plant for blooms in the spring.  I love planting bulbs because it’s like wrapping a present for yourself with your eyes closed.  You don’t know exactly what you’re getting but you know it’s gonna be good!  This is odd for me.  I generally hate surprises and yet I look forward to this time every year.

I have to be a little careful about what bulbs to plant here in Texas because, while I don’t have a mole problem, I have a colony of very busy squirrels that love to munch on the succulent bulbs I tend to plant and if they don’t find anything tasty, they dig up the bulbs and just leave them on the ground.   I tend to take it personally.  Like it’s a statement about my tastes.  I don’t know what more they want, I give them five trees that produce acorns, all the shelter they need, a major thoroughfare to travel, fresh water, and the occasional corn cob.  It’s like squirrel heaven out there.  Thankfully they haven’t taken up residence inside the attic or chewed through the eaves of the house so as long as they are good neighbors, I say the more the merrier.

But I am off track.  Bulbs for fall.  I tend to like bulbs that naturalize but I always buy a few dozen tulips because they are the quintessential harbinger of spring.  Here though it just doesn’t get cold enough in the winter to expect a respectable second season so I plant them as annuals.  Our winter was colder than usual so I’m hoping for a decent showing from last year – at least half might come up.  Even so, I plan to order a mixed selection of tall tulips for the annual beds in the front.  I have a very limited space next to the walk going to the front door for annuals and so I will plant them there.  I also like to throw a few in the planters around our gazebo.  Randy has a difficult time bending over and he likes to see them waist-high.

Of course I will be planting more daffodils.  To me they are the perfect bulb.  They usually bloom in February around here.  I like them because they will naturalize, they are not picky about sun or shade, they like dry summers, and they are poisoness, so my little furry neighbors leave them alone.  I began planting daffodil bulbs the first year I started to garden.  I put them in the shadiest part of my shade garden and for five years they performed well.  They have been declining however and since then I have found that even though they are billed as shade bulbs, daffodils love the sun.

Last year I planted three new types of bulbs: fritillary, a small checkered type of tulip that is more hardy, Spanish Bluebells for under my live oaks.  They tend to tolerate heat better than English Bluebells. And anemone or Grecian Windflowers.  The fritillary never bothered to show.  Whether it was a victim of squirrel dining or just Texas weather, I don’t know but you don’t see any in gardens around here.  But the Spanish Bluebells sprouted shyly in the early spring and were a welcome surprise.  The anemone bulbs were a free gift and so that means the bulbs were probably old but of the five or so I planted, one came up and it was so charming that I am going to plant more this year to see if I can start a colony in my “alpine” garden which is a term used for a shady rock garden, or your whole garden if you happen to live in Denver or the Alps.

So, daffodils, a few tulips, anemone, and Spanish bluebells.  I still haven’t picked a new bulb to try.  Any experience you readers have with a special bulb? I am open to suggestions…

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

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