Karen Atkins is the owner of Proper Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She designed the Victorian Gardens for the Merrick Art Gallery, the Pioneer Entrance Garden for Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, and many award-winning gardens for residential clients. Karen loves to help and hear from other gardeners.


Time To Order Tulips
by Karen Atkins - posted 09/27/11

I know how you feel. Fall arrives, heralding a less frenetic schedule for the gardener. The lawn only needs to be mowed twice a month. It isn't yet time for garden clean-up. Perennials slow their growth, needing less dead-heading, and shrubs settle into a blissful dormancy. You can actually sit down.


Well, I guess you can sit down, but while you are sitting down at least begin to go over the bulb catalogs or visit the growers' websites. There are at least two schools of thought in terms of selecting bulbs for color. Either select bulbs that are direct opposites on the color wheel -such as deep purple and bright yellow- or bulbs that bloom in colors next to eachother on the color wheel; for example, white, pink, and deep maroon. In terms of bloom time, you can go for maximum length of bloom by choosing 1/3 early spring bulbs, 1/3 mid-spring bulbs, and 1/3 late spring bulbs. If you do so, you will be creating what we in the business refer to as a "stretch" mix. If you have an area where you have determined you need to ensure maximum impact, select all of your bulbs to bloom at the exact same time. The best way to do this is to select just one variety. I can hear you now, "I was just going to pick up my bulbs while shopping for something else at Home Depot, after they've gone on sale." Well, how did that work for you last year?

You will be starved for a good flower show by spring. Put in just a little more effort now to enjoy maxiumum rewards. You deserve it! I I I  

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