An easy way to bring spring delight to your garden is by planting bulbs and their ilk (corms, tubers, rhizomes, etc.) in the fall. Local nurseries are now selling fall planted bulbs for beautiful spring blooms.
According to The Sunset Western Garden book, take these steps to ensure healthy and vibrant blooms:
1. Work a complete fertilizer into the entire bed or mix a tablespoon of fertilizer into the bottom of individual holes; add 2 inches of compost over that.
2. Place the bulb in the hole. To protect bulbs from gophers, plant each in a basket of wire mesh. For depth and spacing of specific bulbs, refer to package or planting guide.
3. Irrigate bulbs while they're growing actively, from after planting until the foliage dies back.
4. Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer when growth starts. Leave spent foliage until it dries; then feed and water once more.
There is a stunning amount of cultivars on the market today for Daffodils, also known as Narcissus. Plenty of specialty catalogs carry hundreds of varieties of this simple yet beautiful bulb, but you will always be able to find it at you local nursery as well. I like Brent & Becky's Bulbs for their wide selection.
These plants are in the Iris family and originally from South Africa. The cultivars used in gardening today come in many colors, including yellow, white, purple, orange and pink. Their spicy sweet fragrance is truly wonderful!
Depending on your climate zone, you might have to pre-chill your bulbs or order them already pre-chilled. But what stunning colors and forms! If you live in a climate that doesn't experience a cold winter, use tulips in planters and pots in order to easily remove the bulbs in the fall to place in your fridge for spring time planting. Click here for a great article on growing tulips in Southern California.
"Ixia bulbs are winter growers and should be planted in early fall and watered to start them into growth. In mild areas they may be grown outside in a sunny positions but in cold winter areas they need frost protection. They are suitable for planting directly into a bed in a cool glasshouse which is kept just-frost-free, or for growing in pots, although many of them are a little tall for this purpose. After reaching the end of their growing season in late spring they can be dried off for the summer months."
Iris 'Canyon Snow'
The Univeristy of California Davis Arboretum has compiled a list of plants they deem 'All-Stars', and Iris 'Canyon Snow' is one of them! From their All-Stars site:
"California native plant; most dependable hybrid iris of the Pacific coast; white orchid-like flowers light up shady gardens; grows with little maintenance; narrow leaves form an attractive, evergreen, grass-like mound."
And from our own Santa Barbara Botanical Garden:
"One of the loveliest of the Pacific Coast Hybrid irises, this clone has pure white flowers that consist of three erect standards and three broad falls held perpendicular to the stem. Each fall is highlighted by a yellow patch at the base. This rhizomatous iris, with its bright shiny green foliage, slowly spreads to form clumps up to 4 ft across."