Last Chance to Plant Spring Bulbs

December 9, 2015 6:48am
Narcissus 'Geranium', Muscari 'Valerie Finnis' and a species tulip Image: Erica Grivas

Narcissus ‘Geranium’, Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’ and a species tulip, author’s garden
Image: Erica Grivas

What you should be doing in between rain sessions: shopping for and planting spring bulbs for weeks of mood-boosting color March-May.

Until the ground freezes, there’s still time to plant daffodils, tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs. And – bonus! – they’re on sale right now, so you can scoop some up for as much as 50% off – while they last .

As of (Dec. 8), Sky Nursery and Swansons Nursery are both having 50% sales on remaining bulbs. Sky says it still has a good selection of daffodils (Narcissus), some tulips, a few hyacinths, and some specialty bulbs like anemones.  Swansons reports there are only a few tulips, but still some bearded and dutch iris.  Closer by, Urban Earth in Fremont has a strong selection at 30% off including “five colors of hyacinths, some really nice species tulips, allium, big and little daffodils, a crocus, fritillaria, and anemone blanda. “I always over order and then pot them up,” says owner Susan Petersen.  In fact, not just the bulbs are on sale – nearly all the plants are.

What you should wait on: pruning. Pruning now during the “dormant” period confuses the plant’s growth plans and gets it starting new leaves when it should be making roots. Let trees and shrubs (especially cold-tender ones like salvia, hebes, and lavender) rest until new growth is about to start. As for grasses and perennials, if there is decent structure or seedheads, let it stand til spring – you and the birds can enjoy it until then.