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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Naperville Gardener – Super Power of the Month…. ‘I Can Plan Ahead!’


October, November and sometimes even December are great months to plant bulbs. Every fall, I plant a few more. And this year, as I continue to try to think beyond what’s pretty, I will be planting bulbs that will bloom early (March and April) to provide bees with the protein-rich nectar and pollen nourishment they need as they come out of hibernation.
I hope all of my readers are aware of the importance of bees to our well-stocked grocery stores.

Here are some early bloomers:

Galanthus (snowdrops) are one of the earliest harbingers of spring. They pop up through the snow and reassure us that winter will soon be over. They’re white with green accents.
Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite) is a bright yellow flower the sits above a rosette of green foliage.

All crocus are lovely, but I prefer species crocus which bloom up to two weeks before Dutch Large Flowering Crocus because squirrels tend to leave them alone.

One of my favorites is anemone blanda (Grecian Windflower) that looks like a darling little daisy and comes if blue, pink and white. Rabbits leave them alone and they are just adorable!

Here’s a bulb planting tip:

When you plant bulbs—tulips, lilies, daffodils or anything that will “disappear” during the summer— put a few muscari (grape hyacinths) just above the bulb with a layer of soil in between. Besides blooming beautifully in the spring in blue, pink, purple or white, muscari send up grass-like foliage in the fall to remind you where you have already planted bulbs. I can’t tell you how often I have been heartbroken as I dug into my gardens, slashing a perfect tulip bulb that I had forgotten. But no more!

Plant bulbs when we’ve had about two weeks of 40°F nighttime temperatures, but before a deep freeze. Bulbs need time to root before they take their long winter’s nap.

Bulbs are everywhere. Buy some and plant them to help our bees and other pollinators, too! We can all look forward to a beautiful spring that was “Planned Ahead!”

Marilyn Krueger
Marilyn Kruegerhttp://www.napervillegardenclub.org
Marilyn Krueger is an avid local gardener and member of the Naperville Garden Club.