A Tale of Two Bulb Beds

So here’s what happened…

I planted bulbs from the same three packages in two different beds in my yard within an hour of each other.

I even blogged about it here. This was just a few months ago, right before we experienced the most difficult winter ever recorded in eastern Massachusetts.

There was a lot of snow.

IMG_8601Here’s the backyard herb garden today.  Remember how I carefully planted bulbs along the path, in the nooks and crannies? It was going to be amazing! The herbs are slowly coming to life but there’s not a bulb in sight.

IMG_8599And then there’s the sunny front yard…same packages of bulbs, same planting time and their blooming to beat the band.

I’ve been reading about microclimates and I think that this situation is a good example of two very different climates within about twenty yards of each other. The front bed gets morning sun that’s reflected off of the house and the big windows just above it which makes warm soil, almost like a greenhouse. The herb bed in the back gets afternoon sun and it’s kind of tucked in behind the hemlock tree and shielded by the house until later in the day. As the sun rises higher in the sky this spring it will hit this spot earlier in the day. Right now, it’s still pretty cold out there.

Or maybe squirrels dug everything up when I wasn’t looking!

I don’t think so, I would have noticed.

It could also be related to the soil. That front yard soil isn’t anything special. I kind of neglect it, but it does have years of good mulch composted in. The herb bed was just dug last spring and fertilized with compost from our piles and a few bags of organic compost that I bought.

So, I’m on bulb watch! I’ll let you know if anything pops up.

How’s your garden growing? Did your bulbs come up?

Enjoy it all!




  1. Blaire says:

    I vote for the sun/warmth theory. Things downtown that get a lot of sun and reflection from windows on one side of the street seem to bloom a lot earlier than those that wait for the afternoon sun and never have the reflection. Maybe the earth stayed warmer near the house foundation as well and the poor little bulbs couldn’t take the freezing temperatures?


    1. Hi Blaire!! I know that that area of the yard is always warmer than elsewhere. This really makes me realize that I need to consider it carefully. As I mentioned in my reply to Belmont Rooster, the herb garden sat under a huge pile of snow so they should have been pretty well protected? I guess we’ll find out soon!


  2. Very interesting how your bulbs came up in the front and not in the back. I would agree with Blaire. Bulbs are usually pretty tough and can survive cold temps because they are dormant. If they got to wet along with being cold, and not froze, they could have rotted. I would be checking in your soil to see if they are still there and haven’t rotted.


    1. HI there! I caught your other comments and trashed them, no worries! and thanks for this one! I will check to see if their still there. I hope so. A lot of snow sat on them this winter but I think of that as protection more than anything. There’s a chance of rot if the soil quality wasn’t what it should have been, which is possible. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Molly says:

    Definitely differences in soil temperature and air temoerature! I have the exact same thing going on in my yard, with warm front sunny location ready to burst into bloom and the side shady spot still slow… don’t lose hope yet! We get some terrifically low winter Temps too, and I don’t lose any bulbs. Micro climates are amazing phenomenons!


    1. The difference in temps is amazing and its really not something that I thought about too much until recently. My gardening learning curve goes on and on. I love that aspect of gardening!


  4. I did have to chuckle because every time I plant bulbs the squirrels eat them or they don’t come up. I get a stray one now and again but it’s pitiful. So, your front garden looks beautiful. At least next year, you know to plant them all in the front. 🙂


  5. Dawn says:

    Now I’m curious to learn more about the microclimates in my own garden, Michele! Hopefully the bulbs in your herb garden are just a little bit late this spring. Our bulbs are blooming here in the Midwest (Zone 5)… and our Magnolia is just breathtaking! Have a great week in your garden! ♡


  6. Betsey says:

    I got some tulip bulbs from a friend who brought them home from a trip to Holland. It looks like some I planted too deep.:( Only leaves, no buds, yet if I look carefully there are buds on many. I really need to be more careful with fall planting. The irises I planted in the vegetable garden all came out of the soil. I spent an hour just planting a small row, only three more rows to go….maybe I should just try to cover them with compost and hope for best. 😉


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s