"Lisa owns and operates Glacier Wallflower & Gifts in Columbia Falls, MT. She bought the shop fresh out of college in 1995. and has had a love affair with flowers and the floral industry ever since. Over the years she has spoken to many womens' groups about the care and handling of flowers and plants. She has served on the Teleflora Montana State Board as both a member and as the treasurer. And for the last 5 years or so she has written a monthly article for the Montana Woman magazine, and now she wishes to share her monthly articles with you. So please continue to check "Petals, Projects, & Pizzazz" for the latest month's article."

Flower Bulb Planting Tips

Planting bulbs is fairly easy and this is certainly the time to do it. In every town there are usually several places to purchase bulbs, but for best quality and large flowers buy large bulbs. Upon purchasing them store your bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place until you are ready to plant them. If you don't have such a place (cellar or garage) empty a vegetable drawer in your refrigerator and put them in there. I suggest emptying the drawer because as some fruits and vegetables ripen they emit gas which can be harmful to bulbs.

When planting your bulbs choose a location that gets good drainage and sunlight. Avoid places where water has pooled during the spring thaw and avoid soggy areas in low parts of your flower bed. I like a big show so I prefer to plant 6-12 bulbs together rather than spreading them all out. This process is called grouping and when the bulbs bloom they make a large visual impact.

A standard rule of thumb is large bulbs (tulips , daffodils, alliums) are planted 8-12 inches deep and spaced 3-6 inches apart. Smaller bulbs (crocuses, grape hyacinths) get planted 3-6 inches deep and spaced 1-2 inches apart. If you are unable to determine which side is up - plant the bulb on it's side - it'll figure out which way to grow.

When you're through planting cover bulbs with soil and water generously. And there you have it - you're done! You don't need to water again until the soil begins to look dry. The only other thing you may have to do between now and the time the bulbs start to bloom is protect the bulbs from the squirrels. The bulbs are most vulnerable when they're first planted. The best way to protect them is to erase all signs of planting. Tap the soil down so it doesn't look freshly dug. Spead a few leaves over the area and clean things up so it doesn't even look like you were there. If the squirrels still find the bulbs and dig them up put chicken wire over the area and anchor it with rocks. You can remove it once blooming begins.

From all of us at Glacier Wallflower & Gifts enjoy planting, and remember to visit our website glacierwallflowers.com for all your floral needs. We can send flowers anywhere, and we're always happy to help you make your floral gift perfect.