Planning Ahead in the Garden

It’s July. Let’s talk about planting bulbs this November. No, I haven’t gotten too much sun- well, yes, of course I have – but the point remains that the MSV garden staff plan displays 6 months to a year in advance. Spring blooming bulbs are on my mind, and I think they should be on yours as well.

By Horitculturist Chantal Ludder

Spring bulbs, so enjoyable in the moment, tend to subside into a pleasant, yet vague, haze of memory the rest of the year. Until, of course, it’s November, and you’re panicking because there’s nothing nice left at the big box store, you can’t remember what you already have in the ground, and you never actually wrote down what spaces you decided needed those giant purple alliums seven months ago. Plus, the annuals and perennials have mostly been cut back, and you’re not 100% positive how much space they’ll take up next spring. (I may or may not have done this as a home gardener in the past.)


 “What did I plant in the pots last fall? For that matter, where did I overwinter the pots?” said Chantal Ludder. 

For the MSV gardens, we try to put together a bulb order by mid-August. The staff have had time to assess the spring displays – did we like the color of the tulips, were the scented daffodils perfumed enough- but notes haven’t disappeared into the aether of the office yet. The gardens are in high gear, and I know exactly where I have empty space and where lingering daffodil foliage is going to be a problem next May. Plus we tend to be first in line with our favorite supplier, ensuring there aren’t any substitutions or out-of-stock situations. Our order is shipped out to us in the late autumn when it’s time to plant bulbs, so we aren’t trying to hold thousands of bulbs in storage in the heat.


 “Note to self: Alliums – crowd pleaser” said Chantal Ludder. 

So am I telling you all this to help you have a better gardening experience? Yes. Am I shamelessly setting you up for an announcement about our first Spring Bulb Sale?... Also yes.

Guess what you guys- the MSV is having a Spring Bulb Sale! (such shock, much amazement.) Since we were closed to the public earlier this year, I started kicking around the idea of offering some of our absolute favorite bulbs for sale for folks to enjoy at home. So, the MSV is curating a collection of bulbs that will do well in the Shenandoah Valley, including deer resistant alliums, scented heirloom daffodils, wildly colorful tulips, and hard-to-find trout lilies. (Plus a few other gems I added for funsies.) In August this sale, with all our curated options, will go live on our website. Orders will be available for pickup in late October or early November, so you don’t need to worry about storing them. All the details will be announced by the end of the month.


 “I only picked a few.” said Chantal Ludder. 

So the take-home message here, my friend, it that you deserve take a little break. Make yourself your favorite summer cocktail or mocktail and take a turn around your garden to see what colorful gems you want 2021 you to have.  Planning ahead is important in the summer, as is staying hydrated.

Published Date: 
Tuesday, July 21, 2020