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Bulbs bring additional Spring color

Last summer, I had been given the assignment to bring some color to the Plaza/ Courtyard area of the Zoo. We were to have guests from all across the world to see our Zoo. So I quickly thought of bulbs. They can make it through any winter and come out absolutely beautiful in the spring. At the planning time, I did not know we would encounter such a cold blustery winter like we experienced. I salivated over the Brent’s and Becky’s Bulb catalog. There were four areas that I could add color to when the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) would be visiting.   

I chose over 800 bulbs to create as much color as I could. These will be naturalizing over the next few years to continue to bring color to the Plaza during the winter. The four beds we added bulbs to were our Education bed, Nile bed, Lion bed and the Plaza containers. The Aquarium and Once Upon A Farm are two other locations that have naturalized daffodils.   

We had Daffodils (Narcissus Pistachio and Thalia), Scilla siberica ‘Alba’ and Spring Beauty, Muscari armeniacum, Puschkinia scilloides var. lib, and Tulips Gabriella, Darwisnow, Alibi, and Graceland.   

Spring Flowers, Memphis Zoo, Zoo Courtyard, Daffodils

Planting Instructions 
The technique we used was due to planting bulbs in established beds, we did not till the soils. We used our 2 3/4 inch drill bits to dig to a depth of four to six inches depending on the bulb. We then placed the bulbs with the bottom down and filled in around them. Due to our very cold winter, they did not come up until almost two weeks ago. They received about two weeks of regular irrigation plus what rain/ snow we have encountered over the winter season.   

Cultural Practices
Do not cut back the long growth until it turns brown. It may look unsightly for a few weeks, but if you want beautiful bulbs again next fall, you have to allow the bulb to obtain sufficient food for next year’s flower. Every three to five years, wait until the foliage has browned and dig up clumps. Divide and replant at the proper depth. This year we will be dividing the Aquarium and Farm bulbs. They will look fantastic again next year.   

Please enjoy your next visit to the Memphis Zoo through the eyes of Horticulture. 

Posted by Zoo Info at 2:36 PM

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