Digging is over, but dreaming has just gegun

The last few weeks have been bulb-planting time here in my home garden. While it hasn’t been the frenzy of last year when I planted more than 1,000 bulbs, a few trips to local stores and a large online order from van Bourgondien quickly brought my 2011 bulb purchase to 670 total bulbs. I planted most of this year’s bulbs in our new backyard patio garden — the only “fresh ground” in our landscape.

I built the new garden earlier this summer by installing a retaining wall around our deck patio, taking advantage of the sloped yard to create a terrace. Since the garden is largely unplanted, save for a few perennials and shrubs transplanted in early fall, there is a large expanse of open soil. I decided to plant lower growing bulbs along the edge of the retaining wall, so I dug a shallow 3-5″ trench with a hand trowel. I’ve always been a bulk bulb planter — digging out a large area, placing the bulbs, and then recovering with soil.

With bulbs, I try to ignore my predilection towards control as they end up looking better when they’re planted in a somewhat haphazard fashion. This year I’m pushing the chaos a little further by mixing several of the smaller bulbs (Muscari, Chionodoxa and Iris reticulata) together before planting. By not knowing which bulb is which, I’m hoping to introduce some unexpected combinations in the spring garden.

I placed the mixture of bulbs in the bottom of the trench (tip up, of course!) and backfilled the trench. Since squirrels aren’t a huge issue in our garden, I don’t need to add any wire mesh or other methods of detracting rodents before covering the bulbs with soil.

The bulbs I’ve planted this fall include:

  • Allium caeruleum (12)
  • Allium christophii (10)
  • Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ (20)
  • Chionodoxa forbessi (15)
  • Crocus ‘Tricolor’ (36)
  • Iris reticulata Danfordiae (25)
  • Iris reticulata Reticulata (25)
  • Iris reticulata ‘Alida’ (10)
  • Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ (25)
  • Muscari armeniacum (75)
  • Muscari azureum (25)
  • Muscari ‘Magic Carpet’ (60)
  • Narcissus ‘Double Beauty’ (5)
  • Narcissus ‘Golden Ducat’ (12)
  • Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’ (25)
  • Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Jane’ (25)
  • Tulipa ‘Banja Luka’ (45)
  • Tulipa ‘Beauty of Spring’ (25)
  • Tulipa  ‘Golden Apeldoorn’ (15)
  • Tulipa ‘Holland Beauty’ (15)
  • Tulipa ‘Kung Fu’ (15)
  • Tulipa ‘Little Beauty’ (40)
  • Tulipa ‘Miranda’ (25)
  • Tulipa ‘Ollioules’ (25)
  • Tulipa ‘Purple Flag’ (15)
  • Tulipa ‘Sensual Touch’ (5)
  • Tulipa (Triumph Mixed) (40)


Tulipa ‘Ollioules’

After planting the last of the bulbs and transplanting a few perennials from containers into the ground, I returned my spade and trowel to the garage. The digging season is now official over in my garden. The dreaming season has just begun.

Published by Christopher Tidrick

Be real. Love always. Share beauty. Lead well. Learn more.


  1. Wow that's a lot of bulbs! I can't wait to see how it looks in the spring. The squirrels and chipmunks like to destroy most of the bulbs I plant.



  2. Impressive!! I hope they turn out beautifully. Can't wait to see the pictures. Hope there's lots of dreaming stored up for me…I am already dreading January and February!!



  3. Very impressive. Look forward to seeing pictures this spring!



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