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Fall bulbs for dazzling perennial bloom

Fall-planted bulbs capture the gardener’s optimistic outlook. Just when the earth is getting ready to sleep for the cold winter ahead and plants are going dormant, forward thinking gardeners plant bulbs for next year’s bloom. Bulbs planted in the fall need cold weather to produce their blooms. After a long winter these bright flowers appear each spring, to bloom again and again.

Bulb
by Anna Pavord.
London : Mitchell Beazley ; New York : Octopus Books USA, 2009.
A personal selection and authoritative guide to the most beautiful bulbs on the earth. The publication of Anna Pavord's guide to her favorite bulbs, corms, and tubers is an event to be celebrated. Here, the world famous author ofThe Tulip, selects 540 favorite bulbs, more bulbs than and gardener could grow in a lifetime. Easy-to-grow, generally inexpensive and highly accessible, bulbs are readily available from many outlets. From acis, anemones and arums to zantedeschia, zephyranthes, and zigadenus, this alphabetical collection provides inspiration, insight, anecdote, and helpful advice. Special photography reveals the glory of each bulb, explaining flowering size, height, planting depth and requires soil and climatic conditions. This gorgeous book, a complete deluxe package, will appeal to gardeners as the world's most authoritative and affordable reference work on bulbs.
     
Perennials & bulbs.
 
Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Creative Homeowner, c2009.
Smart Guide: Perennials #38; Bulbs covers information on designing gardens, improving the soil, planting, fertilizing, and maintaining perennials and bulbs. The book contains information on buying plants, starting plants from seeds, and transplanting. Step-by-step photos illustrate the necessary gardening techniques.
     
Buried treasures : finding and growing the world's choicest bulbs
Janis Rukšans.
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2007.
"Take a few chapters from a John le Carre spy thriller, add a hefty dose of exotic travelogue, blend with one of the best books on bulb growing ever written, and you've got Buried Treasures. Since launching his first international mail-order catalog in 1991, Latvian nurseryman Janis Ruksans has rapidly gained a reputation as one of the world's foremost experts on rare and unusual bulbs: Juno irises striped like exotic birds; gemlike corydalis; dusky, brooding fritillaries. For decades, Ruksans has been scouring remote and dangerous regions of Europe and Asia to bring back the botanical treasures that he offers through his nursery, often contending with corrupt government agents, armed rebels, drunken drivers, and even (before the fall of the Soviet Union) the KGB."--BOOK JACKET.
     

Bulbs do well in loose, rich soil that drains well. They cannot be water logged or else they will rot. Plant bulbs under the soil line, digging down about 3 times the height of the bulb.  Look for the pointed end and turn it up since this is the where the crown will form. However, if a bulb is mistakenly planted upside down, it will right itself over time.

Unusual bulbs for
St. Louis gardens

Allium –very hardy and showy, round florets form a dense ball that sit atop a single stalk. Many varieties, color range is white, blue, purple.

Eremurus -also known as "Desert Candles" or "Foxtail Lilies", these graceful spires of dense flowers are one of the most spectacular early-summer blooms.

Hyacinths – known for their strong scent, these short strong beauties come in pink, yellow, white, and blue.

Scilla – good for naturalizing, some varieties are bright blue and very early to bloom.

Landscaping with fall planted bulbs is easy. Small bulbs look best planted in clumps of  3 or 5 bulbs, or large expanses of them can be "naturalized" by planting in large drifts. Daffodils and tulips are among the best known and most versatile landscape bulbs for this purpose. Large bulbs that produce interesting or unusual flowers may look best planted alone for greater impact.

Bulbs usually last many years. Some bulbs will fade out over time, but others will produce flowers reliably year after year. Bulbs that get enough sun and nutrients may reward the gardener by reproducing more bulbs.

More about bulbs

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff