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I Have An Area In My Yard Bed Where I…

Rob Asked

I have an area in my yard bed where I have a 20x12x12 triangle area that I would like to populate with a series of bulbs that bloom in each month, giving color through the prime outdoor months (Mar.-Oct.). I was thinking of 12 of each bulb. Does this sound like too much in one space? Any resources on finding a good mixture for each blooming period?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Rob: I apologize for the delayed response. Autumn is upon us and for gardeners this means it is time to plant bulbs. We typically see spring-blooming bulbs in the garden centers this time of year, but there are summer-blooming bulbs as well. Some of the summer bloomers are tender for us, meaning that they may need to be dug up and stored indoors during the winter months. Allowing bulbs to naturalize in a space is a great way to enjoy reliable color throughout the spring. If I did my math correct you should have approximately 66 square feet to plant. So, 12 of each bulb is certainly not too many. Let’s start with the spring-blooming options; they are separated into three categories: early, mid, and late. Crocus, for example, would be an early option, daffodils would be a mid-spring bloomer, and alliums would be considered a late-spring bloomer. Tulips, depending on variety, can be found in all three categories. Summer-blooming bulbs include dahlias, cannas, elephant ears, and gladiolus. Light availability needs to be taken into consideration, more so for the summer bulbs as opposed to the spring bloomers since the larger shade trees would not be leafed out yet in the early spring. As far as planting, each bulb will have different space requirements so numbers will differ depending on the bulb you choose. Before choosing your bulbs you will want to consider how to plant your space. If you want it to look more natural, mass plantings of a single bulb may be the way to go, but triangles don’t typically occur naturally so the formal look may be more your style, planting along the perimeter and working your way in. Van Bloem gardens is a wholesale distributer of bulbs but they have good information in terms of planting options: www.vanbloem.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=bulbs.using#threeseasons
. The Cooperative Extension Service also has a nice publication on planting bulbs in Kentucky: www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho80/ho80.htm
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