At the Garden Centre and a Talk about Planting Bulbs

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Last fall (seen here) we planted an assortment of bulbs in the garden and it was such a joy to have them bloom in the spring, that we wanted to plant more this fall.

We got them at a cute place called The East End Garden Centre (located at 1395 Queen Street East.) We first found out about it two autumns ago from a woman working at Canadian Tire. I have a good memory of this friendly and funny woman … one of those strangers you randomly meet who you have a laugh with. Anyway, they didn’t carry bulbs so she told us about a place that had good ones.

It’s on the east end of town so we took the car. (There is parking with meters across the street.)

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Bulbs are really easy to grow, if you have the right climate (they need a long period of cold winter). And most should grow back every year if they get enough sun and you add nutrients to the soil, which we do by adding compost that we make all year.

Here’s how to plant them even if you’re renting, because any place that has a tiny spot that you can dig down at least 4 inches, will do for growing your own tulips, even if they might only bloom once.

In the fall, before the first frost, just dig a hole, put your bulb in right side up (look at the picture on the package to be sure of that and to know how deep to dig). Then put a bit of potting or top soil (that you buy in bags) in the hole and cover with the earth that you originally dug out to make the hole. Do this with each bulb, leaving about 4 inches between them. Press it all down well and give them a good watering. Cover with a light layer of mulch if you have some.

That’s it. Now all you do is wait to see those leaves poke up sometime in early spring. You don’t have to do anything with them because there is usually enough water in the soil in the springtime, except if it’s really dry, then give extra water.

If you want to try to have them come back again the following fall, cut only the flower off after they have bloomed, but leave the leaves. While they turn yellow and shrivel up, they will be feeding the bulb. I would wait until they have lost most of their green colour and then you can clip them off if you want. (Regular scissors will work for that).

Then you can cover the spot with a potted plant for the summer, or just leave the spot bare. In the fall, you can just remove the potted plant and leave them, or if you want to give them a better chance of flowering again the next year, you can carefully loosen the dirt over them, mix in some compost, potting or top soil (because they usually come with nutrients in them). And then press it all down again. Water and cover with mulch if you have some.

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Here’s what we got …

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4 bags of tulips, including a nice looking tiny one that will be pink, purple and white. We also got some colourful mixtures and these big purple ones (called Double Tulips). We got red ones like this last year and they were so beautiful. The flower was huge and fluffy. You can see a picture in this post.

We also got our first bulbs of ornamental Alliums, which are a member of the onion family. Our neighbour down the street has some and they’re beautiful, with big round purple flowers.

And the little white flowers are called Grape Hyacinths. They look big in the picture but they will actually be very tiny. We already have some purple ones which are really cute and dependable, so we decided to see how we do with the white ones.

For your reference these, which will give us 50 flowers, cost about $25. It might seem like a big investment but they should come back for many years. We still have a patch of red ones that flower well every year, that were planted by the person who lived here before us, and we’ve been here for over 10 years.

You can be sure that I’ll post pictures of these when they come up next year. In the meantime, they will be little balls of energy hidden under the ground, waiting to spring forth with a beautiful flower.

Thanks for taking a look. I hope your Wednesday is going well.
xo loulou

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