“Fall” Into Spring Garden Prep — Selecting/Planting Bulbs

As we all adjust to our regularly scheduled lives– kids back to school, getting back into work mode, vacations are over, etc., we now have to start thinking about what we have to do to get our gardens ready for next season! We have to make sure they get through whatever type of winter Mother Nature throws at us first in order to insure our spring bounty. So the first part of this “Fall” Into Spring Garden Prep is a natural– Spring Bulbs. What bulbs should you plant? How many should you plant? When is a good time to plant? Hopefully, I will be able to answer those questions for you.


*First things first: you can plant bulbs anytime during the fall right up until the ground freezes. I was planting bulbs in early November a couple of years ago. 

There are several garden seed/bulb catalogs out there that offer several different types of spring bulbs. There are so many varieties of daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinths that you shouldn’t have a problem finding the bulbs you would like.

Here are a few sites that I really like when it comes to the selection and variety of bulbs and seeds that are offered:

So, what bulbs should you plant? 

Plant whatever bulbs you want! But, consider the factors: how much room do you have, do you have a large deer population, etc. There are several types of bulbs that are deer resistant, and you will notice that many garden websites have a whole section dedicated to them. If you have a lot of deer hanging around, stick with daffodils and allium varieties. Tulips are great, but deer tend to love them a lot. Another thing about tulips is that the bulbs tend to exhaust themselves over time, so you will be replanting them more often.

How many should you plant?

Well, as many as you want! Do you see a pattern here?! Whatever you want– just factor in how much space you have, and maintain adequate space between bulbs. You want to get as close to a four-season garden as you possibly can. Try to create a good distribution of spring-fall blooming plants as best as you can.

Bulbs that I am planting:

*Narcissus, Iris — I actually got these bulbs from my parents. The iris’ are close to 50+ years old, and were my grandmother’s. The narcissus were from my grandmother as well, so I am very happy that I have some of my grandmother’s flowers in my garden. After we had our house re-sided, my flower beds were destroyed from feet, and I completely changed it. Now, I have some iris’ and narcissus’ planted in there.


*Alliums — you know I love alliums. I went through a planting tutorial last year with allium bulbs. I am going to order some really neat varieties, and I can wait to show you what ones I will be planting!


*Daffodils — I am thinking of adding a few daffodils to the mix as well. I need deer resistant bulbs because of the problems my neighborhood has with our four-legged friends.

I hope this helps you a little to better understand spring bulbs and what you would like to plant. It is definitely worth the effort to plant bulbs now, because as everyone in a snow-filled area of the world knows, there is nothing better than seeing little flowers springing up from the ground after a LOOOONG winter!

A Little Birdie Told Me…The April Wrap-Up

I can’t believe that this is the end of April…where did the time go? I have to admit, this past weekend, I did not do one bit of garden preparation/yard work. Instead, I decided to play all weekend with my daughter. My husband was really sick with a BAD stomach virus, so I wanted to keep the little one busy. With a trip to the zoo, two consecutive stops at the playground and a nature walk, I kept her outside all weekend…and she slept well to boot!

Meerkats at the zoo totally rock!

Meerkats at the zoo totally rock!

Well, I am really looking forward to this coming weekend–it’s going to be beautiful! I am probably going to do some last-minute stuff to the yard, and before you know it, it will be planting time! I can’t wait!

So, what am I planting this year?

Bleeding Hearts— they are a these stems of beautiful heart-shaped flowers that I hope will come up. I have purchased a package of three bulbs. I have wanted these for a long time, so I am really anxious to get them started!

Astilbe— these fern like flowers come in many varieties, and somehow I got my hands on a package of very tall ones. I thought they looked neat, so I thought I would give them a shot.

Morning Glory— a beautiful annual vine that has blue flowers. My mother actually suggested a few years ago that I should get one. I purchased a package of seeds, so I really hope the seeds come up this year. Our winter was so cold, none of my seeds really did well…

Cosmos— …except for my Cosmos seeds! I purchased another package, and this year, I have picked out pink and blue ones. They did really well, and I am anticipating this batch will do well, too!

Sunflowers— because of tree roots, these are the only things that will grow on the one side of my garage, and they did wonderfully last year! They will always be in my yard, if my husband has anything to say about it!

*And, a follow-up to a post I did in the winter in regards to that spent Amaryllis bulb from the holidays? Well, remember when I showed you how I butchered the darn thing when you shouldn’t cut the leaves off?

The leaves grew back! I was thrilled! And they grew really fast! So, all is not lost should you accidentally cut all the leaves off of your Amaryllis bulb!



And today! The leaves grew back!

And today! The leaves grew back!

And now, for some exciting news! After much nudging from friends and co-workers, I have gone and done it. The Bent Trowel is now on Twitter! In case anyone is interested, my handle is @BentTrowel. My extremely kind and helpful co-worker (who happens to be my cubicle neighbor in the Marketing Department and Social Media Strategist for my company) has steered me in the right direction and given lots of advice to this technologically handicapped person! I have just started the account and have a lot to learn, but I feel this is very important to know. Social Media is very powerful, and here to stay. I have been slowly taking The Bent Trowel to the next level, and I think this is a good step forward.

The twitter account will also go hand-in-hand with the planned expansion I would like to do with my blog. Of course, this will all take time, because, as many of you know, being a full-time working mother can be overwhelming, and trying to fit everything in seems impossible at times. The only time I do get to blog is when my daughter is sleeping, so I don’t get to play around with things on my site as much as I would like. There is a lot to learn, and with time, I know things will work out according.

So, enjoy the week, and tune in next time for a regularly scheduled and (hopefully) informative blog post!

It’s Finally Spring — Now to Survey and Assess…

What a wonderful Sunday it was! And today is even better! Western New York has been waiting a long time for this weather, and we aren’t wasting any time getting outside! I took my daughter on her inaugural trip to the playground yesterday, and ice cream after made it the perfect Sunday afternoon.



I have heard everybody say that now that the weather is finally nice, they can actually take down their outdoor Christmas decorations! So sad, but true. The winter really kicked our butts!

Now that winter is in the rear view mirror, we can look ahead to the warm weather and the great things that come with it. However, one thing that I don’t look forward to during the spring is taking a look at my flower beds and seeing the damage that winter and animals have done with it once the snow melts.

So, I sucked it up yesterday and went out in my back yard, as well as the front yard. Overall, I am happy with the results. Some things I lost,which I had predicted and others have pleasantly surprised me.

As I had mentioned last month, I knew my arborvitae had bitten the dust. Well, they did, fabulously.


But despite this, there are signs of life everywhere, my tulips are coming up, and the Alliums I planted last fall.

DSC_0120 DSC_0121

So, what am I going to do with the damage I found?

  • I am going to ditch the arborvitae. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best location for those shrubs. I think I am going to get two more boxwood bushes that I already have next to the arborvitae now. Boxwood are a very common shrub used for edges, borders, etc. You can trim and shape them to your liking. They have worked well for me, and continue to grow. So, boxwood it will be!
Boxwood are commonly used for borders. Deer do not seem to bother these, which makes them even more ideal for your landscaping!

Boxwood are commonly used for borders. The deer do not seem to bother these, which makes them even more ideal for your landscaping!

  • A lot of my damage has also come from the deer that have parked themselves out in my backyard. I am putting new chicken wire around my raspberry bush, and I need to protect my dwarf burning bush that I planted last year as well. I also have an egg and water concoction that I am using for the spring/summer. More info to come on that subject…
Chicken wire is a savior for plants when it comes to animals, in particular, deer.

Chicken wire is a savior for plants when it comes to animals.  In particular, deer.

So, overall everything is coming along just fine. I planted a lot of new stuff last year, and it looks as though I will be seeing them again this year. I found some new bulbs and seeds that I am going to try this year as well, so I am crossing my fingers I will get something this year!

How did your garden fair this winter season, even if you didn’t get any snow? What do you need to do in order to get your garden the way you want it? Time to assess your gardens before the growing season is in full swing!