Dr. Plantabulb is an unusual practitioner who generally shows up in the fall and accepts patients all the way up until the time the ground freezes. If you are lucky, you can squeeze in an appointment with Dr. Plantabulb on a day like yesterday with a high temperature in the low 70’s and partly sunny skies.
For some gardeners, one appointment is enough to plant all the bulbs in their garden, but others may need several appointments.
My appointment late in the afternoon went very well and was focused primarily on a lot of Allium, Camassia (pictured above ) and Tulipa bulbs. Tulipa is a fancy way of saying that I planted species tulips, which are smaller and more likely to return the second and subsequent years. I’ve found that many of the bigger hybrid tulips are almost annuals around here, so I don’t bother with them. Wait, that’s not quite true, I will probably bother with them, buying a few bulbs* at the local garden center just as soon as they mark them down.
Many newer gardeners don’t realize that Dr. Plantabulb is available for appointments so late in the season, but truly as long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can plant bulbs. So don’t be afraid to take advantage of late season sales.
For those people who buy bulbs and then procrastinate on planting them until it really is too late, meaning too cold, they can work it out with Dr. Plantabulb to plant the bulbs in containers and then put them in a cold place, like an unheated garage or a root cellar, until spring, and enjoy the blooms that way. In fact, some gardeners, like Elizabeth at Gardening While Intoxicated, actually prefer to plant many bulbs that way from the beginning.
The important point is to see Dr. Plantabulb in the fall because in the spring, it is too late. We all know that. We all know that you plant bulbs in the fall, but I have been asked in the spring where one buys tulip and daffodil bulbs to plant in the garden, so I thought I should mention it as one can never really know the gardening skill or knowledge level of the reader. Though by doing so, I feel a bit like those fast food companies that had to print on the side of their coffee cups, “caution: contents may be very hot”.
Anyway, no matter how busy your fall is, be sure and make your appointment with Dr. Plantabulb as soon as possible. It will make your spring so much nicer!
(For those who are wondering, my therapist, Dr. Hortfreud, is aware of my appointment with Dr. Plantabulb and doesn’t have any issues with it, as long as she gets the full report afterward to add to my planting profile.)
* In gardener speak, “a few bulbs” is really a few dozen bulbs or more. It is definitely not “two or three”.