By Andie Wommack, Douglas County Extension
While it’s still too early to be planting bulbs in your garden, it’s never too early to be thinking about what you might like to plant. The growing season this year was much different than ones we’ve seen here on the Front Range in the past few years. Some plants thrived with the cooler temperatures and extra moisture at the beginning of the season, and others struggled. Are you noticing some bare spots in your landscape, or are there areas you’d like to renovate? Bulbs can offer a variety of color and interest to your landscape.
Early September is the best time to buy bulbs to be planted from mid-September through late October. Bulbs need time to root before the ground freezes or they may not bloom uniformly in the spring. Did you know that bulb size has a direct correlation with flower size? That’s why it’s best to be able to choose bulbs from open bins rather than prepackaged bulbs, so you have more control over the product quality. This also allows you to inspect each bulb for any damage or mold.
Have you ever thought about, or wondered where these bulbs come from? They’re grown on farms just like other crops. Bulb farms are popular tourist attractions when the flowers are in bloom. Holland is one of the most famous locations for bulb farms, but there are plenty in the states as well.
Western Washington is home to several different bulb farms. I lived near several during my student teaching. Thankfully I did my student teaching during the spring semester so I had the opportunity to attend one of their festivals. Online resources say that planting solid blocks of color are more impressive from a distance than a mixture of colors and varieties. This is true in a home landscape, and it is immensely impressive on a large-scale bulb farm.