It's time to plan for bulb planting, and a little forethought can avoid pitfalls.
For example: Think about foliage. To get consistent blooms every spring from bulbs that are likely to be perennial here (such as daffodils or species tulips), you have to leave their foliage intact until it yellows. So consider what else will be going on in the vicinity during the six weeks or more that those withering leaves will be around.
A classic solution is to plant the daffodils among perennials such as daylilies or hostas, whose emerging leaves will camouflage the fading bulb foliage. But make sure you are combining compatible plants: Species tulips, which need full sun, won't tolerate the shade beloved by hostas.
Divide perennials. Early September is prime time to split crowded clumps of spring-blooming perennials such as coral bells, astilbe, bleeding heart and hardy geraniums. The transplanted divisions will have time before the ground freezes to get over the shock, and to develop enough new roots and store water to be ready for spring. Dig up the whole plant, keeping as many roots as possible. Cut the root ball into two or three pieces with a sharp, clean knife or spade. Before replanting, mix plenty of compost into the planting hole for good drainage and water thoroughly. Keep the plants watered until the ground freezes.
Bees, ponies and gardeners, oh my: Find kids' activities (pony rides! petting zoo!), beekeeping and composting demonstrations, gardening information and more down-home goings-on at the Garfield Park Conservatory's County Fair, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at 300 N. Central Park Ave. Free, but some activities may have a fee. Gardeners also can enter their plants, flowers and produce in the Harvest Showcase. Call 773-638-1766, ext. 16, go to garfieldconservatory.org or e-mail email@example.com.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times