Divide and Conquer - Gardening With Bulbs, Part Two

March 17th, 2011 by
When we last saw Our Gardening Hero, he was carefully noting the locations of clumps of crocuses, daffodils, and the like. He mapped them out in a way designed to show his children that this was not a treasure map, and then he went on to live his life. So did the bulbs, unsuspecting the enormous changes about to occur. Months later, late summer is turning into early fall. Our hero perks up and pulls out his Map of Bulbs To Divide. Striding purposefully into the garden, he quickly verifies the location of the bulbs. Because they are in a garden bed, he has cleverly stuck popsicle sticks in the ground above the bulbs. (Bulbs in the yard will take more work to find; when he put popsicle sticks there, they were unfortunately eaten by the lawnmower.) Pulling out his trusty garden trowel, gloves, and kneeler, he starts to dig. He knows he planted his crocus bulbs about three inches deep, but his daffodils are more like six inches deep. He has cut up bulbs by digging too shallowly or too close to the bulb site in the past, so he digs around the bulbs before he digs significantly down. Aha! Pay dirt – or rather, pay bulbs! He finds a lump of daffodil bulbs, right where his map said they would be! He carefully unearths all but one of the bulbs in each clump. That one he leaves in the hole, feet down, head up, and he replaces the soil over it, patting it into place.

Dividing bulbs in your garden(Lark, Dousman, WI)

To dig a hole for the baby daffodil bulbs (some of which are just as big as the one he left in place), he mutters to himself about forgetting everything that isn't tied to him and goes to get his bulb planter. This handy-dandy gadget makes it much easier to dig those holes to plant the bulbs in, because this time he doesn't have to worry about spearing anything except rocks, for which he has no great sympathy. The bulb planter makes short work of digging those tedious holes. He puts his daffodil bulbs six inches down again, about three times the height of the bulb, roots down. Other daffodils go in holes no less than six inches from any other daffodil. This will give them room to grow and make more babies. He gives them a little drink to nourish them and then puts aside a few bulbs for his neighbor, remembering that he must deliver them quickly lest the bulbs dry out too much. Our hero repeats this job on some lovely squill bulbs. He remembers that they were right next to his driveway. Sure enough, there they are!

Dividing bulbs for your garden(Ed, Northern New Jersey)

Squill bulbs tend to be small, so he leaves the bulb planter in the daffodils. Let's hope he finds it before it rusts. He digs up and replants the squill more quickly, because those bulbs are so small that they aren't planted very deep. There are still some crocuses, irises, and daylilies to divide – but those are for another day. The shadows are lengthening, and it's time for a break to admire the garden. And isn't that what it's all about?