I always say that planting spring-flowering bulbs in the fall is one of the easiest family planting activities ever. And, I usually wait until November to plant them.

There are several reasons I wait to plant bulbs until November:

  • First and foremost, there are fewer other activities catching my attention with the weather not as nice. The colorful mums have already been planted, apples picked, and the hectic pace prior to Halloween is over.
  • Second, the bulbs like the cooler temperatures, so I plant them when the temperature is in the 50s and 60s. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can plant spring-flowering bulbs too.
  • Third, the act of planting bulbs is somewhat anti-climactic because there is no instant gratification. But planting bulbs is so simple–and the reward in the spring is so exciting for the kids and the adults, when the green leaves start to peak from the cold ground.. And who doesn’t love fresh-cut flowers inside the house in the spring?

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First, pick a spot in your entry way or from an often-seen window. There are three ways to plant bulbs:

  • Simply dig a trench a few inches deep and scatter a whole bag of mixed bulbs–early to late spring blooming–in the trench. Do a quick check and point as many bulbs root-side down as you can. The rest will find their way.
  • The second option for bulb planting is to dig holes in between existing plantings. I placed a combination of four different deer-resistant varieties side-by-side in each hole to get the maximum result eor each hold dug: white daffodil, purple grape hyacinth, white leucojum, and pink wood hyacinth.
  • If you don’t have a yard, do not worry, you can have bulbs too–plant them in a flower pot and keep them on the stoop or balcony. With pansies overtop, the bulbs will sprout right through in the spring.

Along with the bulbs, I’ll find time in the next week or so to sneak in planting three black raspberry shrubs into the vegetable garden for the kids to have their very own “pick your own” experience out back. It’s a great time to call the local nursery to see what may be on sale that you’ve always wanted to have in your garden.

With the leaves largely off the trees–or rapidly blowing away–November is a wonderful time to find yourself enjoying “past leaf peak” time outside with your family, planting bulbs, and cultivating some more happiness for the spring.

Rebecca P. Cohen is Founder and President of Rebecca Plants LLC, is a gardening and outdoor lifestyle company that inspires families to be outside and improve their well being. For her weekly online video series, “Get Out of the House” as well as Starla J. King’s guest blog series “Savoring Summer,” visit http://www.rebeccaplants.com.

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Published: November 5, 2009