For a special treat next spring, plant lots of bulbs this fall, erocus, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and some others that maybe you've never planted before.
Snowdrops (Galanthus) are the earilest white flowers and if the weather is mild they may bloom in early February. Their daintinees and grace make them especially suitable for natural plantings and they multiply rapidly under favorable conditions.
Winter aconite (Eranthis) produce the earliest yellow flowers and are a delight by themselves but even more so in combination with the white snowdrop.
Glory-of-the snow (Chinonodora) is the earliest blue flower of the season and often blooms when snow is on the ground, and it makes a marvelous contrast.
The Dutch crocus blooms a few weeks later than glory-of-the-snow. There are many varieties in colors of purple, mauve, blue, white, yellow and striped. Planted 3 or 4 inches apart, the many flowers which each corm (bulb) produces will cover the ground if conditions are favorable.
Larger bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, should be planted 6 to 8 inches deep and 6 inches apart.
Species tulips, such as Fosteriana and Kaufmanniana, are planted 4 to 8 inches deep.The little bulbs, such as snowdrops, crocus and winter aconite, are planted 3 inches deep and 3 inches apart.
The bulbs should be planted as soon as you get them in the fall. The best place for them is in the ground unless you have a first-rate place to store them.
Satisfactory storage storage temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees with 63 considered best. At these temperatures the bulbs can be stored safely for several weeks.
If stored at temperatures above 65, the bulbs are likely to lose some of their quality. It is lost through respiration which occurs to an increasing degree as temperatures go higher.
Bulbs planted in poorly drained soil may not bloom even the first year. In fact, they may not even survive. If there is no other choice, perhaps you can build a raised bed and grow them there.
All bulbs should be planted with the base down. If you have difficulty distinguishing the top from the bottom, look for the root plate. Usually it is in the form of a disk at the base.
To a considerable extent the planting location depends on the requirements of the bulbs used. Some of the bulbs do better in light shade while others do best in full sunlight. Many are ideal in groups in an informal border or rock garden. Some kinds make a charming picture in front of evergreens or shrubs, under trees, or along walks. The height of the plant and type of flower also govern the location to a considerable extent.
The soil should be of average fertility with a good amount of organic matter mixed with it such as compost or well-rooted barnyard manure. It is a good idea to mix a very small amount of 5-10-5 fertilizer with the soil when planting. Dig the hole a couple of inches deeper than the bulb is to be planted, and mix the fertilizer with that used to fill the hole.
Too much fertilizer, especially nitrogen, will promote excessive leaf growth at the expense of high-quality flower production.
Moles, mice, rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels often cause serious damage to bulbs. The mole and mouse combination may be especially destructive. Moles make tunnels and mice utilize them to get to the bulbs they eat.
Squirrels are very fond of crocus corms but they may also chew some other bulbs and tops.
Chicken wire spread over the ground and weighted down with stones can keep them from digging up the bulbs.