I love early spring. The snow – assuming we get some – has melted. The leaves are coming out on the naked tree limbs. And the flowers are just beginning to bloom.

Bulbs produce the brightest flowers of spring. Daffodils, crocus and tulips are the most common, the ones even non-gardeners can recognize and name, but don’t forget early irises, ornamental alliums and others.

Some of the bulbs, daffodils especially, last for years. Others disappear over time, either eaten by deer and rodents or just getting old and dying. Either way, it’s good to plant new bulbs each fall, so you’ll have something look forward to over the cold, dark winter. All the bulbs I’ve mentioned are available at local garden centers, from some nonprofit groups and online.

Plant them anytime before the ground freezes. Either dig big holes with a shovel and put in a grouping of bulbs, or dig smaller holes with a trowel for single bulbs. The general rule is deeper is better, but — except for crocus and other tiny bulbs — go at least six inches deep.

You can add fertilizer, but it isn’t required. I like to label the bulbs when I plant them, so I will know what is blooming come spring.


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