The Costco Connection
In addition to spring-blooming bulbs, Costco and Costco.com
offer plants and shrubs, flowers and cut flowers, and
a variety of lawn- and garden-care equipment.
SEPTEMBER 2013 ;e Costco Connection 61
By Debra Prinzing
WHEN IT COMES to growing bulbs, it’s true
that good things come in small packages.
Dense and compact, bulbs such as tulips and
daffodils have a distinct, onionskin-like outer
layer, a pointed tip and a flat bottom with
short, hairy roots. Inside is all the nourishment
they need to endure winter nestled in your garden soil until spring, when they produce beautiful blooms.
“You might think of bulbs
as old-fashioned, but they play
a major role in bringing color
and excitement to the garden,” says Dave Strabo, president of Longfield Gardens,
which supplies Costco’s packaged bulb varieties.
In most parts of the country,
fall is the best time of the year to add
new plants, including trees, shrubs and perennials, to the landscape. It’s also the ideal time to
plant spring-blooming bulbs.
Riz Reyes, an award-winning Seattle landscape designer and owner of RHR Horticulture, considers bulbs a perfect way to
enhance your outdoor living spaces. “A simple
drift of bulbs expresses the message that spring
is here,” he says.
Choose the largest, healthiest bulbs you
can find to ensure vigorous growth and robust
blooms. Select a location that’s sunny or partly
sunny. Some gardeners designate large areas
for their spring bulb dis-
plays, mixing and matching
colors of tulips or daffodils
for a tapestry effect. Bulbs
also pair nicely with early
spring annuals, such as cool-
season pansies or primroses. If
you can’t devote a lot of space,
don’t worry, says Reyes: “I
just plant my bulbs wherever
I have room in the garden.
You can never have too many—
in fact, I grow extras for cut flowers.”
Kelly Norris, horticulture man-
ager at the Greater Des Moines (Iowa)
Botanical Garden, likes to ran-
domly space bulbs in and among
prairie grasses and sedges to
create a natural-looking mea-
dow “that ‘rhymes’ with the rest
of the landscape.”
Planting areas should have
loose, rich, well-drained soil (bulbs
can rot if the soil is soggy or drains
poorly). Gardens with rocky soil or heavy
clay benefit from amendments such as
organic compost. If your soil is compacted, or
if you have a patio with limited planting space,
consider growing bulbs in window boxes or
containers—you’ll love their bold impact.
Dig individual holes or prepare larger
areas to accommodate a swath of bulbs.
Arrange bulbs in a circular or random pattern, a few inches apart. Depending on the
variety, bulbs are typically planted at a depth
three times their height (e.g., a 1-inch grape
hyacinth bulb is planted 3 inches deep), then
covered with soil.
Fall is the time to plant
Using granular bulb
food is optional, especially
the first year. Some gardeners
treat their bulbs as annuals, planting new varieties each fall. If you want
your bulbs to rebloom in future years, fertilizer is necessary. In most regions, winter
precipitation should keep planted bulbs
adequately moist. Where the soil is dry or if
there is drought, water the bulbs occasionally until spring.
Spring-flowering bulbs are practically
foolproof, say the experts. “Fall is a great
opportunity to find large quantities of bulbs for
a good price,” Reyes says. “Choose your favorite colors and you won’t be disappointed with
the results.” C
Costco member Debra Prinzing, www.debra
prinzing.com, is a Seattle-based outdoor-living
expert and author.
PHOTOS: LONGFIELD GARDENS
Botanical Garden, likes to ran-
Out of the mouths