North America counts for 30% of the world’s flower bulb demand. Canadians do love bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocus, iris, cannas, dahlias and the like) – just consider the number of visitors to Ottawa’s Tulip Festival each spring, but an increasing number of young home owners are not planting bulbs because they don’t feel they “know enough about them”. As the homes and gardens of bulb savvy Baby Boomers downsize, the education of young homeowners is necessary for the bulb industry to survive.
Not wanting to live looking at a landscape devoid of bulbs, I strongly support the initiative of the Dig Drop Done Foundation in creating an interactive website at http://www.digdropdone.com. It is the thought that speaking to the web generation in their own language will turn them on to the beauty and relative ease of planting with flower bulbs.
The Ready to Learn portion of the website offers basic and advanced bulb education, a bulb browser, frequently asked questions, tips and a dictionary. For anyone who wants to learn more, this is the section of the site to visit. It offers pictures, examples all in easy to understand text. It is neither too simple nor too horticultural. Alongside the bullets of tips and main points are Helpful Hints such as using mulched leaves as winter cover over your gardens to provide additional protection for your perennials and bulbs, but only after the ground has cooled and winter is well on its way (if done too early, mice and other pests are encouraged to set up house).
The Ready to Plant section takes the basic knowledge one step further with ideas for companion planting, a gorgeous photo gallery with very hip and trendy décor ideas using bulbs for all seasons and a bulb calendar and planting chart. The Family Fun portion of this section has planting suggestions for adults and kids to work together and even colouring pages to download and print. The videos in the Video Library are fun and reinforce a lot of the material presented throughout the website.
http://www.digdropdone.com allows a novice gardener to learn at home and then come to a good garden centre armed with some knowledge of what he/she wants to buy in bulbs. Experienced gardeners can also learn from this website. Some things I learned or were reminded of from http://www.digdropdone:
- The bigger the bulb, the bigger the flower
- For a natural look, take a handful of bulbs, throw them over your shoulder and plant them where they fall
- The difference between bulbs, corms, tubers and roots
- How to use the “lasagna technique” of planting bulbs in multiple layers, with early flowering bulbs in the upper layer and bulbs that flower later and last in the middle and deepest layers
- Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) bulbs planted on top of larger spring flowering bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, will provide markers for you when planting in the Fall. Muscari shoot leaves up in the fall (to nourish the bulb) and that visual cue will remind you that you have a grouping of larger bulbs planted below and to not plant your newly added bulbs in that space.
Good garden centers will have a beautiful selection of spring flowering bulbs (that must be planted in the Fall) throughout the months of September and October. Summer flowering bulbs are generally available for sale in the Spring to be planted that season.•