Fill Your Garden and Deck with April Bulbs

When I had a yard and a huge deck, spring meant long, happy days of bulb [and tuber] planting in garden plots and containers. While many bulb plants like tulips and daffodils need to be planted in the fall, there are many more which should be put into the ground or pots after the last possibility of a freeze in April.


With the warm sun on your back and face, the wonderful spring planting season always contained my favorite decorative plants and flowers. Over the years, I indulged in almost all the possibilities I could find. Lilies [especially day lilies], gladiolus, cannas, peonies, callas, gloxinia, clematis, globe thistle, caladiums and astilbe were all “participants” in various years but some plants were there every year as my perennial favorites.


I can’t resist the glory of elephant ears in gardens or even pots [where they do quite well]. As the warm months advance, gentle breezes catch the large leaves and they gently sway almost hypnotically. They al-ways make the world seem peaceful and can lull almost anyone to sleep. Unlike most spring bulbs, they require partial shade which made the ones I always had in pots so convenient since I could move them out of the direct sun on the hottest, long days of high summer.


Another favorite which is not used so extensively used is the South African crocosmia. It is an “exotic” with sword-like foliage which is delightful all summer. Late in the summer and early fall, however, the plant produces long graceful stalks adorned with spikes of brilliant red or red/orange flowers which butter-flies love. These plants get quite tall so leave them plenty of room and make sure they get lots of direct sun.


Spring bulbs share some general rules. Bulbs should be firm and plump [not mushy in any way] and most love full sun [elephant ears are an exception]. Wait until no frost can be expected. I usually held off until April 15th just like I do still with my herbs in pots. Plant your bulbs or tubers about two to three times deeper than the bulb’s length [i. e. 6 to 9 inches deep for a three inch bulb], water well and cover with mulch to prevent weeds. Always check the card which comes with most bulbs for specific rules of plant-ing, however.
Bulbs require so little care for the most part. Some like dahlias need to be staked, for instance. Other-wise, all you need do after planting is perhaps a little trimming or dead-heading. Sit back and enjoy their colorful display or lovely motion for the rest of the summer months.


–Dick Funderburke

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