A Gift to Your Future Self: Spring Bulbs

Ever since I was a child, I was enamored with the idea of time capsules. I loved to imagine what my older, wiser, future self would think of my current treasures. For many of us during this pandemic, that is now reversed. Instead of hoping for a nostalgic look back in time, I think we are hopeful that we will be standing in a better and brighter place.

So, this year, I’m going to help that cause along. Even though I just finished planting my fall flowers, I’ve decided to also plant spring bulbs. Come spring, I can now guarantee that my future self will come out of the bleakness of winter to a yard filled with flowers. Planting spring bulbs is a project that doesn’t take long and will ensure that our future will be a more beautiful place.

Spring Bulbs 101

spring tulip

As always, I headed over to our local Pasquesi Home and Gardens to select my spring bulbs. If you don’t have access to a local source, Breck’s has an amazing selection online. Breck’s imports their products directly from growers in Holland and I’ve found it to be a smart source for my planting needs.

Spring bulb choices range from Alliums to Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinth, Crocus, and Iris. The first year I planted bulbs, my excitement overcame me and I bought a little of everything. However, I was a lot less excited when a whole bunch of my gorgeous blooms were destroyed by deer and other critters. So this time, I’m zoning in on daffodil bulbs as they are more deer resistant. Daffodils come in so many color combinations (I bought a mixed bag) that it hardly seemed limiting to focus on one flower. I also bought a few Muscari bulbs because I just adore them. Here’s hoping that this time around, things end better for me.

daffodil grown from spring bulb
field of daffodils after planting spring bulbs

Where to Plant Spring Bulbs

muscari (grape hyacinth) grown from spring bulbs

Most spring bulbs like full to at least partial sun, so pick a well lit East or South facing location. Another factor to consider is your summer planting. If you put these in flower beds that are also used for summer annuals, they may still be in bloom in May. Instead of using my flower beds, I’m putting my spring bulbs mixed in with ground covering around trees and around the edge of my property. That way, I can still enjoy the blooms and plant summer annuals on time.

How to Plant Spring Bulbs

The general rule of thumb is to plant your spring bulbs at a depth three times the height of your bulb. Spring bulbs should be planted around the end of September or October in Illinois. This gives them enough time to grow strong roots before the ground freezes, but not enough time to push up shoots. Since Chicago weather is so unpredictable, I chose the end of September to plant mine.

Spring Bulb Care

Even though they are just bulbs, they still like water! Water heavily so that the water soaks to the depth of the bulb. Also plant in nice quality soil. Finally, if you see all the cute little fall squirrels attempting to dig them up as an addition to their nut piles, place a piece of mesh over the top of the soil. Just make sure to remove it before they bloom!

Here’s hoping that your future self loves the flowers you are sending her way!

various spring bulbs in bloom