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Autumn Bulb Planting : Planning a Spring Surprise Party

The end of summer has arrived, fellow West Coast Gardeners, and have we ever enjoyed our hot sunny days in the garden or on the beach. Now we can put away our bathing suits and sunglasses as we look forward to...Spring?

Wait a second, that can’t be right. What happened to Fall and Winter? Did I miss Christmas? Never fear, you haven’t missed anything yet, but let’s talk about Spring for a few minutes, and how we can make it extra special for next year with some party planning in the garden.

As a last hurrah in your garden it’s time to start planting Spring bulbs amid the falling leaves. Think of it as wrapping a present up for yourself in the future, then forgetting about it for a few months. What a surprise when the daffodils and tulips start poking up their heads to say hello after winter ends, ready to party in the warm sun.

bulbs in the fall

Make sure to pick yourself a top quality bulb

Sometimes presents can underwhelm you, such as that “almost new” sweater, the scratch-and-win ticket that didn’t win, and the gym membership (who’s idea was that?!). Planting amazing bulbs in your garden for Spring is a fantastic gift for yourself, your family and heck, the whole neighbourhood! Start picking out some colourful ones and get digging.

When choosing bulbs you want to make sure they will perform come Spring. Make sure they are a good size (not shrivelled or markedly smaller than the rest of the bunch) and also firm all over. Soft spots can mean rotting or dampness that will hamper its ability to bloom in the warmer weather.

Planning the surprise party

There’s nothing worse than planning a surprise party and having it end up being...less than a surprise. Someone spilled the beans, was looking extra suspicious with glitter in their hair, or was spotted picking up the giant cake. Now the guest of honour has to “look” surprised, which never really works no matter how good an actor they think they are. Everything needs to be timed perfectly to create the right event, and when it comes to your Spring bulb garden the same idea applies.

Autumn Bulb Planting : Planning a Spring Surprise Party

Planting your Spring bulbs should be done from mid-September to mid-October. The soil temperature needs to have cooled down from our summer heat, but not be frozen yet. If we have a warm November (without a hard frost) you can even plant them a little later.

A perfect location for a Spring event

Finding the perfect spot for your bulbs isn’t too hard, they aren’t super picky. A well draining area of the garden (so they don’t stay wet and end up rotting) with full to partial sun will be perfect to nourish their roots all winter and keep them happy when the Spring arrives.

When you’re digging a hole, don’t overdo it. Plant your bulbs about 2-3 times deeper than they are long. So a 3’ bulb can be planted between 6-9’ deep. This ensures they will be able to reach above ground in Spring and bloom for you. Try to plant them the right-side up (pointy side up, roots pointed down) but bulbs instinctively know which way to grow so you don’t have to worry about them blooming upside down.

Autumn Bulb Planting : Planning a Spring Surprise Party

Crowd Control Optional

Even though you may not want to invite the entire neighbourhood to your summer party, as nice as they all are, because you only have so many lawn-chairs and don’t want to clean up for the rest of the weekend; this problem doesn’t apply when it comes to planting Spring bulbs. The more the merrier!

Bulbs can be planted right next to each other, and it’s a great idea to plant large groupings together for a stunning colour display when they bloom. This also helps, in case a few of your bulbs are duds and don’t end up sprouting. 

Watch our quick DIY tutorial on planting bulbs to see the action.

Worried about party crashers like deer and rabbits? Luckily these unwelcome visitors don’t eat all varieties of bulbs. Unappetizing bulbs for these creatures include daffodil, crocus, snowdrop, hyacinth and iris bulbs. (Sort of like having a vegan buffet table to keep away the BBQ crowd!)

Creating the perfect party decor

Pinterest is chock full of party decor ideas, from DIY streamers to pom-poms and confetti. (Speaking of Pinterest...check out our board for ideas on creating beautiful Spring bulb displays.) There’s no end to the combinations you can create using the huge variety of bulb species and colours available.

We love the idea of combining bulbs together into containers, and layering them so that your planter will be blooming all spring with new and surprising flowers! Watch our easy DIY video below on how to achieve this amazing Spring party look.


Whether it’s in the garden, or in container pots for your patio and front door, Spring bulbs look amazing everywhere! The best news? It’s the gift that keeps on giving! Bulbs will bloom for you every Spring for 2-5 years, without the need to replant or move.


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