As we reach November, preparations begin for the cold winter ahead in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Expectations of dropping temperatures and frost mean our landscape team is gearing up to protect and maintain the health of the farm’s current flora and fauna, as well as plan for new life next Spring.
Our Head Gardener plans for this time of year many months in advance by selecting each variety of new plant, and their destination on the farm, based on the soil type and sunlight requirements of each. Included in his planning is one of the biggest tasks that must be completed before winter takes hold; planting over 13,000 imported Dutch bulbs throughout the farm.
Bulbs are the underground storage component of a plant, consisting of a short stem surrounded by fleshy scale leaves or leaf bases.While we will not see any growth from these bulbs until Spring, it is necessary to plant all of them before the weather gets very cold. The cold weather instigates a dormant period in the bulb, which allows the bulbs to understand their cue to grow once winter’s low temperatures subside.
We joined our Landscape Manager and his team as they began this process. The arrival of the bulbs comes at the beginning of November and the sorting process begins. With over 50 varieties, each box is labeled according to planting location. The varieties include many different types of lilies, daffodils, and tulips with a mixture of early, mid, and late bloomers.
There are new flowerbeds, in use for the first time, as well as existing beds where annuals from the previous year are removed and replaced. New bed locations are outlined and augers make new holes for the bulbs. Once each hole gets a single bulb, the dirt is replaced and the wait for spring begins. This entire process takes up to one month, but the beauty of these flowers will last for much longer.