Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Grape Hyacinths Helps Locate Other Bulbs

septembre 20One problem gardeners have as they build up the bloom in their flower beds year after year is trying to remember where they planted spring-blooming bulbs the previous years. After all, at fall planting season, the bulbs from previous years are fully dormant, buried in the ground, and show no sign of their presence. So where exactly did you plant those hyacinths and tulips last year? After all, you don’t want to dig them up while planting this year’s choice of bulbs.

One way to remember where each cluster of bulbs is planted is to surround it with a circle of grape hyacinth bulbs. Grape hyacinths (Muscari spp.) have the curious habit of producing foliage in the fall even if they don’t bloom until spring. When you see circles of narrow, linear, bluish green leaves (see photo) start to pop up in your fall garden, you’ll know there are other bulbs planted in the center and will therefore know where not to dig.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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