Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reversing the Seasons: Transplanting Bulbs

Spring bulbs reward the gardener with effortless blooms, so I should be happy that green sprouts are emerging in my garden. Yet the Cammassia (otherwise known as wild hyacinth) that I planted several years ago to border my vegetable garden is no longer integrating with my overall design plan that requires neat and orderly. The straight lines have shifted, and once the spiky blue blossoms fade and the foliage dies back, the thrill is gone. Bulbs planted in the wrong place pose a problem, because if the gardener waits until after the bloom, and allows the foliage to brown naturally, it is impossible to find the bulbs again until they reemerge the following season. That's why I choose the spring for transplanting bulbs, along with other perennials. Digging carefully around the roots with a garden fork, I gather clumps and rapidly deliver them to a new location. It's a bit of reverse psychology to plant bulbs in the spring, but with a little luck, they will be quite happy in their new home.

Kitchen Garden Tip #11: Keep bulbs and other perennials outside of the vegetable garden in their own area (see my mistake in this photo). This way you will have a clean canvas to design each season, without the restrictions of working around a clump of brown leaves. Don't be afraid to move bulbs and other perennials, but pick an overcast day preferably with light rain to help settle the roots.

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