Bulbs - Think Spring

Ranunculus 02-230x153Autumn has hardly begun and it is already time to think ahead and begin planting bulbs for the spring garden. If planted now spring bulbs will establish roots before winter arrives giving them the longest period to grow and mature.
This insures better plant health, quality and quantity of bloom. These beautiful blooms are well worth the little effort it takes to grow them. For any garden lover who has ever endured a long, cold, grey winter the sight of the first spring daffodil or snowdrop peeping through melting snow is almost a religious experience.
That special lingering fragrance of hyacinths, a bed of gracefully arching tulips glowing in the spring sunshine, or drifts of molten yellow crocus, all bring fond garden memories to the botanically devout. Ask any of them and they will reassure the uninitiated that growing spring bulbs is exciting, easy and memorably worthwhile.
Many spring bulbs are native to the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. They prefer cold winters, cool and damp springs, and drier summer weather.

Included here are:
most narcissus species, grape hyacinths, tulips, scilla, chionodoxa, frittilaria, crocus, iris, galtonia, ornithogalum, and many more.
In very cold climates these bulbs represent the bulk of spring colour. Galanthus (Leucojum – snowdrop) and winter aconite are famous for popping their hardy heads through snow.

The buds of crocus, early daffodils and tiny rock tulips are so hardy they are sometimes frozen by late cold snaps and still flower undamaged the same afternoon!
Another group of spring flowering bulbs come from the Mediterranean, South Africa, and other milder climate zones with cool, damp winters and hot, dry summers. New shoots and occasional blooms appear in late autumn or winter.
This tender growth can be damaged by severe freezing so they are restricted to sheltered gardens or the cool glasshouse. These bulbs are excellent for warm, drier positions.

Included here are:
freesia, babiana, ixia, sparaxis, tritonia, lachenalia, some anemone, narcissus, ranunculus and gladioli species.
Here are a few points to remember when planning and planting bulbs for spring flowering:
  • Bulbs prefer a well draining soil. Lighten heavy soils with sand, gravel and grit or place a handful of these beneath the bulb to protect it from rotting during wet weather. Raised beds are ideal of growing bulbs.
  • Most bulbs resent rich, moist compost and manures. Feed them with a good general slow release plant food or bulb food rich in potassium, phosphorous, and lime, crushed limestone rock or shell. Feed at planting time, as shoots emerge, and after flowering.
  • The world’s best Dutch bulbs are grown over beds of crushed shell limestone covered with a layer of sand.
  • Planting depth varies with soil type but is usually twice the length of the bulb. Plant deeper in light soil and shallower in heavy soil. The pointed end of the bulb is placed upwards in the planting hole, not screwed into the ground like a light bulb!
  • The exceptions being anemone and ranunculus which are planted with points or claws pointing downward.
  • Most bulbs prefer full sun and resent shading or overcrowding by other foliage. Anemone species, aconite, bluebells, ixia, ranunculus, snowdrop, sparaxis, leucojum, allium, and scilla will tolerate part shade.
  • Guard emerging shoots against slugs and snails or the tender buds inside will be ruined.
  • After flowering remove seed heads unless grown especially for seed. Allow old foliage to die off naturally. Removing it prematurely can stop next years’ flowering.
  • Most bulbs are easily grown in containers. Warm weather bulbs (freesia, etc.) will often multiply if kept well fed and watered in spring but allowed to dry out in summer.
  • With cold weather bulbs like daffodil, tulip and hyacinth place the containers in a very cool, damp, dark position for 8 to 12 weeks. Then bring the pots into more light or inside for earlier bloom. Keep well watered and liquid fed.

About us

dale-john 01-100x66 Dale Harvey and John Newton met in Melbourne Australia in 1981. Since then they both have supported each others careers while also building and maintaining their own. Read about how they were able to turn their joint careers into one and creating a dream of a better world starting in their own local community.

Media & Publications

host daffodils-100x66The following articles are a small part of the many published editorials on or about both Dale Harvey and John Newton plus the property affectionately nick named by the people of New Zealand, as the
"Quarter Acre” Paradise gardens.

Awards & Credits

HOPE Trust-100x66This is a collection of Appreciation Certificates, Local and Overseas Awards with Acknowledgments presented to Dale Harvey and John Newton over the many years of their joint careers plus the Launch and Registration
of The H.O.P.E. Trust
The Healing of Planet Earth.

Contact Us

P.O.Box Papatoetoe Central
2156 Auckland
New Zealand
Tel: +61 9 276 4827
Fax: +61 9 276 4025
Email: info@daleharvey.com