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Planting spring flowering bulbs at Center Park

Short ones that bloom before May for the lawn, and taller or later blooming bulbs in the planting beds.

Here are three participants from our Monday morning free garden classes, Jonathon, Sabrina and Emily, planting species tulips in the lawn at Center Park. While it looks like a mess at this stage, later the turf will be pressed back into place. The bulbs came from Van Engelen which is the wholesale side of John Scheepers in Connecticut. Best bulbs for the lawn flower before May and are less than 8" tall. This way during No Mow May the foliage can continue to photosynthesize and put energy into the underground bulbs for next year's blooms.

We used twine to create sweeping drift shapes and shovels to dig out clumps of turf. In this situation the straight edged shovel worked better than the "root assassin" V-shaped shovel. We used a garden knife and skinny trowel to loosen the soil prior to placing each bulb about 4" apart and 4" deep. We planted Narcissus Xit, which is a tiny white daffodil and a white and yellow species tulip Tulipa dasystemon. These will go well with pastel lilac crocus and squill that will be planted at the Sat Nov 4 end of season bulb planting and clean-up event at Center Park.

Taller or later flowering bulbs will be planted in the flowering beds surrounding the lawn area and in the Woodland Garden areas under deciduous trees. We always plant in "bouquet" shapes and quantities. We want the park visitor to see a pretty clump of small flowers as they walk around the paths. Bulbs planted near groundcover or shrubs are more vulnerable to being eaten by critters, but Daffodils are toxic, so not eaten. While no guarantee, planting tastier bulbs in the open area of a lawn helps prevent some losses to hungry varmints.

It is always a wonder that if chosen well, planting such ugly, blobby "things" (corms, rhizomes and bulbs) during the cooler weather of fall results in years of spring ephemeral flowers to bring smiles and a mini burst of endorphins to those that find them in the spring.

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