Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Time to plant those Spring Bulbs – Cornwall Ontario – October 18, 2010

Cornwall ON – Now is a great time to plant those bulbs for that wonderful spring colour.  Tulip, daffodil and crocus bulbs are currently available at your local garden center and hardware store.
Planting now can reward you with wonderful waves of colour and fragrance in the spring.  Before going out to purchase those bulbs you may wish to do a little planning.  Where do you want those bulbs planted?  Is there enough sunlight?  What colours of flowers would you like greeting you on those wonderful spring days?  Bulbs are generally reliable in that you can count on them to bloom as long as they are planted according to directions in well drained fertile soil.
Examine the bulbs you purchase to insure they are not damaged and are firm.  A general rule of thumb is to plant the bulb with twice its own depth of soil.  So if the bulb is 3 inches long plant in a hole covered with 6 inches of soil.  Also, give the bulb the same amount of space from a neighboring bulb.  All this being said your bulbs will come with planting instructions so please plant according to the supplied directions as this may vary from the general rule above.  Most bulbs have a pointy end which is where the flower will exit to reach for the sunlight.  Plant this end up.  If the bulb has eyes or buds, plant these up.  If you miss the planting time specified on your bulb packaging you may still plant until the ground is frozen.

For waves of bright colour consider planting bulbs in clusters and groupings.  Since bulbs generally flower before your perennials you may wish to plant some around these plants as they will have the space and time to flower and finish their cycle before your perennials are in full bloom.  Do remember to let the foliage from the bulb flowers die off naturally as this is the way the bulb gathers strength to bloom for the following year.  Not all bulbs are for spring blooming so insure you read your bulbs packaging so that you get what you are looking for and that you can companion plant based on the the blooming period of the other plants already in your flower bed.

You can even get a little creative and perhaps plant some bulbs around some outcropping of rocks.  Try some crocuses in your lawn.  If you are not happy once you see the results of your plantings you can always dig up the bulbs once they have flowered and their foliage has died off and plant them in another location.

If you want the benefit of spring’s colourful offerings, now is the time to act.  Do remember that Cornwall and the surrounding counties each have their own Horticultural Societies.  They are a wonderful source of information.  For the Cornwall & District Horticultural Society you may contact Wendy Grant at 613-938-9822 or

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  1. Thank you for pointing out that the pointy end should be in the upright position when bulbs are being planted. I’ve always wondered about that. Eyes are also planted up otherwise how could the plant see the light. Good thinking!

  2. It’s the squirrels, Jacqueline. They took over $80.00 worth of my bulbs last year. I tried, pepper, Cayenne powder and leaving other things for them to eat. They wasted half of my daffs and swallowed all of my crocus. Considering all the work I went to creating a deep bed – my Spring time visual effect was lacking. How do you keep the squirrels out?

  3. Mr. Roy…I have also battled squirrels on a couple occasions…My suggestion is sort of gross to deal with, and only works if you have cats or know someones who does…take the urine out of the litter box and mix it in the soil around your bulbs…the squirrels assume a cat owns the place and steer clear…I worked for me, and one other person I suggested it too…it also failed for another…good luck.

  4. Rocket Roy…some people recommend chicken wire between the bulbs and the soil used to cover them. I read daffodils were poisonous, so squirrels wouldn’t touch them. An old fashioned remedy is to place or dig in some human hair with the soil around your bulbs and on top of the soil covering them. Squirrels do not normally like to hang out with people so the smell will deter them. I’m certain you could get a good supply of hair from your local hairdresser. Good Luck!

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