Planting bulbs is not a pleasant activity for older, arthritic, or rheumatic gardeners, especially where autumn is damp and chilly. Some of my colleagues even keep a small bottle of acetaminophen and a Thermos of hot tea in their tool buckets to help them endure through such a chore.
Nevertheless, the joy that spring flowering bulbs bring to gardeners is so overwhelming that I will agree to plant them if someone asks.
Otherwise, I don’t automatically offer a bulb planting service. It is labor intensive, which translates into expensive. Many of my clients have been shocked by the estimate for such a project, especially when the price of gigantic Allium bulbs is factored in.
Once in a while, I will work with a homeowner who has allocated a comfortable budget for the garden and the story changes. An important client, who had commissioned a very large rose garden, asked that I return this autumn to plant bulbs.
For her raised flower bed, I chose an alternating combination of Narcissus Ice Follies and Giant Yellow Trumpet Daffodils, behind which I placed Darwin Tulips in alternating groupings of Red Emperor and Ivory Floradale.
Up against the stone lip of the flower bed, I planted Anemone blanda, in assorted colors. I am not a fan of this small flower only because I never had success with it. Given how tedious it is to plant, it does not deliver much bang for the buck, especially when viewed from a distance. However, the client had purchased a bag of 100 tiny bulbs at Costco and asked that I include them. Even though they did not blend well with the color scheme of the other bulbs, I could not refuse. We are so starved for flowers, by the time spring arrives, that blending colors is of little concern. However, I did warn the client that growing conditions in our area may not be hospitable to Anemone and that she might be disappointed. I hope that nature will prove me wrong; the client is a very sweet lady and I want her to be happy.