Better December Than Never—Finally Planting Fall Bulbs

Man, these take me back to my childhood!
Man, these take me back to my childhood!

Past time to plant what arrived months ago!

WAYYY back in the middle of summer (June) I received an email that “now” was the time to order fall bulbs for planting. Rarely one to pass up a plant, I started looking into flowering bulbs.

Before ordering this fall, my previous experience with bulbs was eating onions and garlic, missing incandescent lights, and enjoying a few tulips and hyacinths planted by our home’s former occupants at the base of an ash tree in the front yard. Two Aprils ago we added a few Easter lilies and more hyacinth after seeing loads of them on clearance at a big box store and to our delight a few of them actually returned last year!

I didn’t think much about flower bulbs—other than that I like their beauty and how they come up early in the spring, sometimes even through a late snow —until I came across their utility for orchards while reading Toby Hemenway’s Gaia’s Garden, the gateway book for future permaculturists. There they’re mentioned as part of a simple apple tree guild, a ring of daffodils placed at the drip-line to suppress grass that might otherwise encroach on the roots of the tree.

Well, today, finally, I went out into the yard with my lovely wife to plant the many bulbs that arrived months ago (starting in October!).

And there were many. It seems I went kind of bulb-crazy when I first perused the listings from Baker Creek (tulips!) but I seem to have held it together with American Meadows (just a small batch of alliums). Somewhere along the way though, I added grocery store garden clearance daffodils and grape hyacinth (they were only a dollar!) as well as a few inexpensive bags from a big box store.

So what did we plant? Our bulb mix includes:

Alys Fowler. I thought she looks lovely. My wife thought she looks crazy.
Alys Fowler. I thought she looks lovely. My wife thought she looks crazy.

Before planting, I dug up a video I’d watched months ago on Hulu. It’s not embeddable but you should check it out—a lovely clip on planting fall bulbs that took some of the anxiety out of the process for me and Elyse. It’s from The Guardian’s Alys Fowler, and you can watch it at

As for our humble “allotment”, I’ll post a diagram of what went where and why after everybody’s down in the ground.

Gardening is good!


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