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Fall gardening brings spring colour

Don't pack away those gardening tools yet! If you would like your garden full of colour next spring, fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs that yield spring flowers, such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, crocus and snowdrops.

Hardy fall bulbs must be planted in the fall, as they need to rest dormant during the long, cold winter. Ideal planting time is from September to December, even after the first frost, as long as the ground can still be worked.

Fall is one of a gardener's favourite seasons, because it is when you get to plan and create what your garden will look like for the next year.

Landscape professionals have provided some tips for when preparing a garden bed with fall bulbs:

Daffodils

Hyacinth

Crocus
  • Prepare the bed
    When preparing a bed, double digging will help to make a well-drained planting bed. Also, be sure to use top quality bulbs that are now available at Green for Life garden centres. Find one near you.

  • Condition the soil
    Improve soil by adding three inches of peat moss and one inch of composted manure. Then work the amendments in 30 cm deep. Add one kg of bonemeal for every 1,000 sq. ft.

  • Plant, the sooner the better
    When planting ensure the pointy end of the bulb faces upwards. Read the instructions for each bulb to ensure you use the correct planting depth. Also, add a sprinkle of bloodmeal to deter squirrels from stealing your bulbs for food. After planting water to settle the ground and initiate rooting.

  • Add 2-5 cm of mulch
    Adding mulch will help prevent winter weeds, retain moisture and insulate against severe winter cold and temperature fluctuations.
When choosing bulbs for your garden this fall, keep in mind that for spring 2011 bold colours such as red, orange and yellow will be in style, in addition to the traditional white.

Since Holland is one of the largest bulb producers in the world, and one of Canada's primary suppliers, consider visiting some of the famous Dutch gardens, including:

Keukenhof
Boasts an impressive display of a staggering 7-million spring bulbs.
See www.gardenvisit.com/garden/keukenhof

Palais Het Loo
Often called the "Versailles of Holland" because of its axial layout, fountains, parterres and statues. See www.gardenvisit.com/garden/palais_het_loo

Appeltern
Provides a changing exhibition of garden design, with over 150 model gardens. There is a large plant collection and examples of design by well-known Dutch garden designers, landscape architects and authors. See www.gardenvisit.com/garden/de_tuinen_van_appeltern




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