Magazine article Sunset

The Lessons of Bulbs; Fall Planting, Spring Surprise

Magazine article Sunset

The Lessons of Bulbs; Fall Planting, Spring Surprise

Article excerpt

A simple bulb-planting project can be great fun for youngsters and a fine way to get them started in gardening. Fifteen-year-olds David and Catherine Ross of Palo Alto, California, have been planting bulb gardens for four years now, and each spring brings exciting surprises. The first year, David designed a simple scheme of tulips and daffodils in his favorite colors-yellow and white. The display was so successful that it inspired him to continue the next year. As his color preferences change over the years, so do his bulb selections. Each fall, he experiments with new colors and different varieties. What makes it fun, David says, is that no matter how well he plans, he's always amazed by the flower display. Catherine discovered her winning combination early on-peaches, pinks, and whites-and loves to repeat it from year to year. Each season, she shows off her favorite color of the year in the middle of the bed.

Start with paper and pencil (or a computer, if you have one) Choose a site that gets full sun most of the day. A bed that's bare of other plants is easiest to work in.

Since the most important considerations when developing a bulb show are height and bloom time, it's best to plan out the display on paper as shown at far left. (A parent may need to help younger children draw the shape of the bed.) David developed last year's plan on a computer using a simple drawing program.

To ensure a successful show and young children's continuing interest, keep the design simple. Use only two or three colors and stick to just a few types of bulbs. Order bulbs from catalogs, checking height and bloom time. …

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