November 19, 2014
The Start of Fall Bulb Planting
My bulbs arrived over the past three weeks, and this week began the process of placing and planting spring blooming bulbs throughout the property. Many areas will receive fresh plantings that will bloom in the spring. Every year I order thousands to add to the garden - this year nearly 12,000 new bulbs of different varieties. They come from Van Engelen, which is based in Connecticut.
We started with the beautiful pin oak allee, running from the equipment shed to the boxwood allee. It's one of the main areas I see when I drive into my property. I've recently realized that aside from the pin oaks, I haven't planted anything that adds color to the area except a few crocus, many of which have been eaten by the squirrel population.
I love this process -I always find it exciting to plant bulb in the fall that you won't see for many months to come. When they are in bloom next spring, I will be sure to show you the photos.
1 The following photos show how we plant some of the bulbs. Time is of the essence - the polar vortex came sooner than expected this year, and the bulbs need to get into the ground before it freezes. We must hurry up!
2 These bulbs were sent to East Hampton, where I am replanting the entire garden with new plant material.
3 I order the bulbs not only for my farm in Katonah, but also for my homes in East Hampton and Maine. The bulbs were all sent to Katonah, sorted, and sent to the appropriate place for planting
4 Some bulbs, like lilies and crinum, come specially packed in sphagnum and plastic. They must be kept moist without being wet, and they need to be planted as.soon as possible after arrival. These were sorted by color, type and height.
5 Some bulbs are very small and are easier to plant. Every bulb needs food and good soil to thrive and multiply.
6 Many suppliers help the gardener by sending a photo of the flower, along with planting instructions for each type of bulb.
7 Larger bulbs are more difficult to plant because they require larger, deeper holes. Generally the hole must be three times deeper than the length of the bulb.
8 When the bulbs arrive, they are unpacked and sorted into single tubs - one for each variety. They must be kept in a dark, cool place, free from frost or heat, until they are planted.
9 Each of these tubs holds about 1,000 bulbs. I buy bulbs in amounts of 20, 100, 500, and 1,000.
10 Here's the pin oak allee - each tree will be underplanted with bulbs.
11 We've decided to plant Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica 'Excelsior' underneath each tree.
12 Here's a thousand bulbs - ready to plant!
13 30 bulbs for each tree.
14 Here's what they look like up close.
15 Now you can see them properly spaced.
16 Here's one of my gardeners, Wilmer, beginning the planting.
17 A nice fat healthy bluebell.
18 This tool is a dibber, used to create a narrow deep hole.
19 For planting small bulbs, the dibber is the prefect tool - fast and efficient.
20 Here you can see the even spacing.
21 The bone meal goes in at the base of the hole.
22 It's easy to sprinkle it in many holes at once, assembly line style.
23 After the bone meal, the bulb gets dropped in with care.
24 Covering up the hole.