is written about the good-health powers of gardening.
physical activities – mowing, weeding, planting and
raking – exercise muscles, burn calories and reduce
is one of the best stress-relieving activities
available, where activities might include stretching,
pulling and deep breathing fresh air," says Becky
Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, Va.
to that, there is new information about relieving stress
using fragrance – they now call it ‘aroma therapy.’
there is much information suggesting that being around
pastel colors has a calming effect on emotions. Combine
all three of these effects — natural exercise
gardening with fragrant, pastel flowers — and you have
a surefire way to help relieve some of the tensions in
October and November, bulb gardening is an excellent
source of that stress-relieving exercise, according to
Heath and Elizabeth Fogel, a senior horticulturist at
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Va.,
bulbs in the fall provides a great way to get
outside," says Fogel.
weather is no longer hot and humid and is much more
that you planted these bulbs in the fall gives you a
sense of excitement as you look forward to the spring
months ahead, anticipating the first blooms of your hard
work. It can also be used as a great learning tool for
children, teaching lessons about delayed gratification.
During the winter months roots are established, and
their efforts are shown beautifully in the spring."
pastels are your palette preference, daffodils offer
many possibilities, according to Heath. Plant these
spring-flowering bulbs in fall, preferably after the
first frost or when the soil temperature is about 60
are also the easiest perennials to plant for anyone new
to gardening, adds Fogel.
are hardy and multiply season after season, especially
if you amend your soil," she says.
soil leads to better growth. Adding compost or organic
fertilizer is an easy way to amend your soil — in
fact, those are the methods used by Lewis Ginter
are some pretty pastels
Pink Silk is a white petaled, pastel pink, long-cupped
Pink Charm is just that — a charming pink and white
Lorikeet has the unusual coloration of soft yellow and
three of these daffodils offer the calming effect of the
pastel colors and an assurance of success in the full
sun garden," says Heath.
you add Narcissus Sweet Smiles and Narcissus Blushing
Lady, you not only get their calm, pastel colors, they
also offer the fragrance of the old-fashioned jonquils
that our grandmothers grew."
you pick a few of these luscious flowers and take them
in the house, their natural fragrance is much more
effective than the chemically enhanced store-bought
fragrances used today. And the satisfaction that you did
it yourself really boosts the spirit — and is an
are some good bulb companions
blue Muscari, or grape hyacinths, around the ankles of
the soft-colored daffodils helps you see their soft
colors from a distance, advises Heath.
Valerie Finnis is one of our pastel favorites,"
can also add Hyacinthoides, or Spanish blue-bells. in
pinks, whites and blues to extend the flowering season
and give more weeks of pastel prettiness.
addition, plants like sweet alyssum, thyme, Asiatic
lilies, mints, roses and tuberoses are perfect partners
in the pastel fragrance garden.
can be combined in the same garden and even planted in
layers as long as the plants have similar requirements
for sun/shade or moisture levels and if the soil is very
rich and well drained," says Heath.
many different types of bulbs and plants that have nice
fragrances, when combined in the same garden create
unbelievable luscious scents that can help to heal the
mind, body and soul."
pastels aren’t your thing, these bold and beautiful
bulbs are the best, according to Fogel.
tommasinianus is a herald of spring and critter-proof to
boot. Voles and squirrels tend to leave this variety
reticulata are tiny irises that seem to hover just above
the ground. They bloom on naked stems or scapes and
typically grow 6-8 inches tall. Flowering in late winter
and early spring, they are one of the first bulbs to
bloom, offering hope of the warmer season to come.
greigii Red Riding Hood proves bulbs can be attractive
for their foliage as well as their blooms. The flowers
are scarlet with a black spot at the base; the leaves
are streaked with brown-purple. Interesting foliage is
especially appealing in tulips, since the blooms can be
Van Mullekom is the garden/home columnist for the Daily
Press in Newport News, Va. Follow her on
don’t my bulbs bloom? Bulbs are easy to grow. They
bloom under a multitude of different conditions because
inside the bulb is everything it needs to flower. There
are conditions in which the bulbs and blooms don’t
develop as expected — for example, soil does not drain
well, which kills the roots and eventually the bulbs.
Crop rotation also often benefits bulbs, planting tulips
where daffodils grew and vice versa. Too little sun
adversely impacts flowering. In addition, bulb foliage
needs to remain at least six weeks after flowering is
finished so the bulb’s food supply is replenished for
the following season.
eating my bulbs? Unfortunately, rodents like bulbs.
Tulips are very desirable while alliums, daffodils and
hyacinths are rarely damaged. Plant the bulb at the
maximum depth to prevent mice, squirrels or chipmunks
from digging them up; use scentless organic compost to
leave no trace of smell that can entice rodents to dig.
Mix tulips in with bulbs like alliums, which smell like
onion, or daffodils to ward off pests. When the bulbs
start sprouting in early spring, rodents and deer won’t
touch them if you spray the foliage with a
deer-resistant product every three or four days, or
after it rains.
if my bulbs start coming up too early? Sometimes this
can happen when it’s an early spring or when the bulbs
are planted near a south-facing retaining wall in the
garden. This is really not a problem since the bulbs are
hardy and can take the cooler nights, even when they
have developed foliage. There can even be situations in
which crocus or early narcissus is already blooming
while a late snow shower turns everything white. This
doesn’t harm the bulbs — it just creates a great
opportunity for some really nice early morning
photographs of blooms peeking through the snow!
there a wrong or right way to position my bulbs?Not
really. It’s best to plant bulbs with the pointed ends
up, roots down. But even when bulbs are planted "up
side down," sprouts will find their way up to the
sunlight and bloom just as nicely as the ones planted
I divide and replant my bulbs? When and how? Spring
bulbs do not need to be divided as much as
summer-lowering bulbs. When left in the ground,
daffodils slowly spread over time. For the people who
dig tulips and other bulbs in early summer, they will
notice that under each flower stem there will be a large
bulb and multiple smaller bulbs. These can all be
replanted again in the fall — October-November — and
each bulb should be planted separately
Hans Langeveld, co-owner of