New flowers come to bloom each day in the spring flower gardens of the Netherlands. When my participants visit the Keukenhof park before the tulip bike tour, they ask me: how do they do it? Well, they use the lasagna recipe flower bulb planting in fall. Dutch style of course. Let me explain.

Fall guide to flower bulb planting Dutch garden style

You want to create a border in your garden, with anything from fringed tulips to peonies, grape hyacinths and fritillaria. You’ve carefully selected the Dutch bulbs in spring or summer. Online, or offline during one of the stops on our flower fields bike tour. Now they arrived at your home and are ready to be planted. In fall, between September and December. At least before the first frost.  How do you get a tulip garden like the Keukenhof in the Netherlands? With flowers blooming throughout the tulip season? Here’s my guide to fall flower bulb planting Dutch garden style. 

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Step 1: The right bulbs for the lasagna recipe planting

First of all, it is important to have fresh Dutch flower bulbs. Look at the Keukenhof gardens. They get their tulip bulbs late summer, early fall. Fresh from the 100 bulb growers after the harvest. As said before  buying bulb flowers at the Amsterdam flower market, especially in spring, is a bad idea. Those are old bulbs that won’t bloom well or not at all. So make sure you buy them from the flower farm in fall or have them sent to you in fall.

Step 2: When the right time to plant your spring flowers has come

Second, planting time is important. When you plant your flower bulbs in fall, at the right time, you will see your parrot tulips, daffodils and crocus come to bloom in spring. That’s right, plant the bulbs in fall and they’ll flower in spring. You know the time is right when the temperatures drop and the soil becomes cooler. Remember to plant all your flower bulbs before the first frost. When the cold winter comes, your spring flowers want to be hibernating in the soil.  

Gardening in Keukenhof park is an all year through business. The planting of the flower bulbs in this spring garden Europe starts in September. The design for the garden, created in the summer, is now laid out in the designated areas. In October and November all Dutch flower bulbs are planted. Now, you might be wondering why it takes two fall months to plant the tulips and other spring blooming bulbs. Well, you would probably need as much time if you had to sow 7 million (!) bulbs.


Dutch flag white red tulips blue muscari Verita's Visit Keukenhof


Step 3: Preparing the ground for the lasagna recipe bulb planting

Next step is to decide on where to plant your blue hyacinths, red tulips and white daffodils. Do you want to create a Dutch flag, a Dutch garden or make it look like the muscari river in Keukenhof?  It is a nice idea to make a design. Extra tip: For readers from outside the Netherlands who have deers and squirrels coming over feasting on the bulb flowers, take this into account. It might be a good idea to find a planting spot near your house.  Then prepare you planting site. Plough the ground, or dig it well.

plant a tulip garden Keukenhof style flower river Verita's Visit

When you buy your tulip bulbs from a Dutch flower grower usually it comes with a good description on how to plant them. They might even explain the lasagna recipe for fall flower bulb planting. Yes, here it comes: the spring flowering lasagna planting. The last step in this guide on when and how to plant and layer your Dutch flower bulbs!

tulip picking garden tour Verita's Visit
On the spring tulip bike tour you can pick your tulips. With bulbs. In fall there is no flower, nor leaves. Just the bulb to plant. Fresh bulbs from the farmer are better.

Tip: Spend some time with your bulbs before the lasagna recipe bulb planting

The lasagna recipe is a layering technique used by the gardeners in Keukenhof tulip park. It is thé recipe for having a garden in bloom all tulip season long. That’s a flower and tulip garden in constant bloom  from mid-March to Mid-May. Another tip: while making the design, sit with your snowdrops, narcissus and rembrandt tulips in front of you. Write down which spring flowers of the Netherlands bloom at which moment and how tall the flower will be. 

Step 4: Layer your bulbs and create the lasagna

With the lasagna recipe for fall flower bulb planting you put the late blooming peonie tulips or french tulips first. Plant them about 10 cm deep and 2- 5 cm from each other. Pointed end up!  Cover them with a good layer of soil and then plant the early tulips and late daffodils. Let’s say, those spring flowers that bloom early to mid- April. Again a layer of soil and then the early blooming crocuses and daffodils. Your bulb lasagna with three layers is ready. Water and give love. 

Extra tip: cover with winter pansies in winter

In the flower region below Amsterdam you often see tulip fields covered with straw. This is to make sure the bulbs stay nice and warm. You could do this as well. Another option is to plant winter pansies or other bedding plants on top of your bulb lasagna.  By the way, the lasagna bulb layering can also be used in containers. 

Were you looking for flower bulbs blooming in fall? There’s a bulb flower very similar to the crocus, called colchicum autumnale or autumn crocus. 

Hope the lasagna recipe for fall flower bulb planting works for you. For me it is a great way to relax, take my time and look at the beauty of the flower bulbs. This way I enjoy the planting more, it becomes a true event, a tradition even. And it makes me look forward to spring and the tulip season.  Share some pictures of your hard gardening work and the results. Or just show them during one of the tulip tours or celebrations. 


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