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Bulbs Barely Blooming

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Spring hasn’t just been short on flowers so far, many bulbs I’ve seen blooming seem stunted – with very short stems! Now, that’s often a sign that bulbs weren’t pre-cooled enough, such as when bulbs are forced to grow indoors in a pot, or planted down South, where they need weeks of refrigeration before they can bloom. But our bulbs got plenty of cold here this year.

So, I called two experts for opinions, including renowned local bulb maven, Charles Cresson of Hedgleigh Spring in Swarthmore who thought it might be a combination of things. Not really our cold winter, since bulbs bloom well up into Canada, but he suggested that all the dampness with so much snow melting into dense clay soil without proper drainage can adversely affect bulb roots and health.

I also picked the brain of Brent — one half of the famous bulb-selling team of Brent and Becky — who said that after a prolonged cold spell, a quick warm up can coax the flowers open before they’ve had a chance to grow very tall. He says the stems should catch up soon as we get more warm, sunny spring days.

Whatever the reason, one thing’s for sure – Nature will do what it pleases. And it’s nice to see flowers in the bulb beds anyway, even if they are a bit hidden by their leaves.

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