Although now may not be the best time to plant them, there are some very good reasons to tiptoe to the nursery tout de suite for your tulips and other spring-blooming bulbs: September and October are the months when we have our best selection, it’s when the bulbs are freshest, and you have the best chance of hearing our buyer Doug muttering his special crate-opening incantation: “tuber or not tuber.”
We’re offering a wide assortment of the old standbys—tulips, narcissi, anemones, hyacinths, crocuses, ranunculas, lilies, etc., but also have an excellent stock of more unusual bulbs, e.g., the edible California native Camassia quamash and Allium schubertii, an ornamental onion with sweetly-scented lilac flowers in huge umbels, that thrives in baking hot soil. Once you’ve brought your little treasures home, don’t bury them until soil temperatures have cooled a bit (usually late October in the SF Bay Area). Be sure to keep the bulbs in paper bags in a cool, dark place; if you set them in a warm spot or in plastic bags, odds are that they will either rot or shrivel beyond resuscitation. (Remember, bury them alive!) The exceptions to this general rule are bearded iris, tulips and hyacinth. Bearded iris are planted in late summer and the latter should be refrigerated for 8 – 10 weeks before planting.
The rules of green thumb for planting most bulbs are: scratch a little bulb food at the base of the planting hole, plant no deeper than twice the bulb’s diameter. Keep pointy end up or plant sideways if there is none. When you stop by the nursery we can give you more detailed planting information.