A GROWING CONCERN: Order spring bulbs for great floral display

JUNE IS OVER and what a month we have had. Extremely warm (hot) conditions, hail in the low lands, snow in the mountains, lightning strikes, rain and gorgeous days.

I remember when I first arrived here on the Peninsula. I was told it rains on the Fourth of July and the next day summer begins.

Well by now, anyone who has read this column or who knows me personally realizes I love this place.

With Olympic National Park and spectacular scenery everywhere, the North Olympic Peninsula is gorgeous.

The communities are filled with dedicated, involved citizens who foster playhouses, fine art centers, waterfront trails, skill centers, dog parks and dream playgrounds along with food banks, shelters, youth centers and many support systems for those in need.

The school systems are excellent and the quality of life is superb.

But, this is a gardening column and everyone who takes my various classes, workshops or attends lectures knows that I think the weather here is perfect — never too hot, never too cold and ideal for a wide range of plants.

Our weather for vegetation is forgiving, so if things aren’t done correctly, your plants still thrive.

If you plant them, they will grow.

I believe everyone needs at least five things on their property to aid and foster Flower Peninsula USA:

• Hanging baskets

• Dahlias

• Colorful fall foliage plants

• Holiday light sculptures

• Spring bulbs

It is the last one, spring blooming bulbs, that I wish to discuss here.

If you pick just one item from this “mandatory” list, it should be spring bulbs.

The reason is very simple — bulbs are the crème de la crème of the North Olympic Peninsula.

Weather is perfect

The mild but cool weather coupled with a slow, steady rise of temperatures throughout the spring — along with the absence of temperatures above 70 degrees or below 20 degrees during their bloom and development time — makes spring bulbs reign supreme.

Then, to complete the picture, bulbs prefer sandy loam soils which litter our landscape.

So spring bulbs are the ideal item to ply around your home for easy, mostly carefree flowers, which for even the blackest of thumb are guaranteed to flower brilliantly.

The reason I am addressing this today is because bulb catalogs will be stuffing your mailbox soon and now is the time to order them.

The next several weeks is the peak season for bulb growers around the world as field harvesting begins in earnest.

The secret to a great spring bulb bed is hundreds of bulbs in a multitude of types, ranging from the earliest winter aconites, snow drops and species crocus to miniature daffodils, hyacinths and fritillaries, ending with late tulips, huge alliums and great cut-flower iris.

You want to get your order in early, as the favorite bulbs or newest varieties will fill first.

So please, if you choose one plant to show off your yard and botanical prowess, select spring bulbs for a breath-taking display of color next spring.

You will thank yourself and your neighbors will be envious.

________

Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] (subject line: Andrew May).

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