When it’s this hot out, why not stay inside and start planning your Spring garden? I’ve found that investing a little time in the Fall planting bulbs yields days of joy in the Spring when your garden comes to life. The great thing about bulbs is that they are easy. You don’t have to have a green thumb, all you need to do is know how deep to dig a hole.
If you are looking for a little variety to mix in with the basic “big 3” spring-blooming bulbs (daffodil, tulip, hyacinth), here are my tips. Instead of using mulch, choose a companion plant in your bulb garden that will highlight it. For example, in your tulip bed, sprinkle in a few packets of purple leaf mustard or lettuce seeds to show them off. Pair your bulbs with pansies and coordinate colors for splashy beds or add ornamental grasses like Mexican feather grass to give more form and cover stems when the blooms are finished.
I’ve always thought imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so I’ll visit public gardens like Maymont or Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens to see what they plant together and what plants look good at various times of the year. Both are currently open to the public.
Another reason to start looking now is that the more interesting varieties sell out before it’s actually time to plant in the Fall. Do your shopping now. One of my favorites is the Turkestan onion. It’s a perennial with grey green foliage and a pale lilac round flower. If you’ve got any favorites, I’d love to know about them. Happy gardening!