You don’t have to plant tens of thousands of bulbs every fall like we do at the New England Botanic Garden to have a stunning spring display in your home garden. Bulbs, in almost any quantity, can be a great addition to your garden. They add a layer of interest by blooming at a time when many of our perennials are still dormant, attract pollinators, and require relatively low maintenance.

Besides knowing the basics of bulb planting — like having some bulbs you plant in the fall and some you plant in the spring, planting them pointed upward, and planting them two to three times deep depending on the height of the bulb — there are a few do’s and don’ts that will transport your screen. To the next level.

Try small lamps. Most people think of tulips and daffodils when they think of bulbs, but there are plenty of bulbs that can add interest to your garden and really extend the bloom time. Often times, I get very excited about bulbs that bloom very early like snowdrops (Galanthus) and saffron. When there are no leaves on the deciduous trees and the rest of my garden is still dormant, these flowers warm my heart and give me hope that spring is just around the corner. These bulbs are small, about the size of a coin, so you won’t need to plant them very deep. Plant them in groups for maximum effect.

Don’t forget to check the cultural requirements for the bulbs. The saying “right plant, right place” applies to bulbs too! Some lamps, such as common cams (Camassia Qawamsh)like wetter soil and full sun, while others, such as the Siberian squill (Scylla siberica) It can tolerate dry shade. Doing a little research goes a long way and bulb catalogs usually provide detailed descriptions of what your bulb needs to thrive.

Add alliums (and other bulbs in early summer). This type of onion, which blooms in late spring, is deer and rodent resistant, has a long flowering period, and attracts butterflies. Adds structure to your garden with a ball of small flowers on tall, vertical stems. Try varieties like ‘Gladiator’ or ‘Ambassador’ for big impact.

Choose bulbs that will normalize to get more bang for your buck. In our area, although tulips are showy and beautiful, they are not guaranteed to come back year after year. Instead, try daffodils. With hundreds, perhaps thousands of different varieties, you can find a daffodil in the shape, size and color that suits your garden and come back year after year.

Do not cut the foliage right away, keep this in mind come spring. It may be tempting to remove the foliage after the flowers have finished blooming, but the leaves will continue to photosynthesise for weeks or months, storing food for the plant in the bulb so it can overwinter and emerge with healthy new flowers next year.

Consider companion planting. When the foliage starts to look a little unsightly, it’s helpful to plant other perennials to hide it. Daffodils and daylilies are a tried and true combination. When the daffodil leaves fade, the daylilies are in full bloom. This also ensures consistent blooms in your garden to prolong the interest. You can choose any perennial plant as long as it has the same growing requirements as a bulb. Make sure your selection is still small when the bulb blooms, so the plant doesn’t hide it.

Don’t start planting until you have your design completely worked out. It may seem obvious, but more than once I made the mistake of planting some of my bulbs for the season and forgetting where I planted them. Then when I go back to planting the rest, I have an “ah oh” moment and waste time trying to remember not to add more bulbs on top of the first set. If you can’t devote enough time to plant all the bulbs at once, take photos, sketch or mark the areas where you planted them to avoid double planting. If you make a double plant, do not sweat it. Perhaps something beautiful and unexpected will come from your mistake!

Central Gardening Mass New England Botanical Garden on Tower Hill CEO Grace Elton and Horticulture Director Mark Richardson. Located on 171 acres in Boylston. The New England Botanic Garden creates experiences with plants that inspire people and improve the world. Learn more through The column is published on the third Sunday of the month.

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