Burnett: Spring bulb advertising can sometimes be misleading

It is that time of year when I see the signs up in front of the garden centres saying that spring bulbs have arrived. 

Of course, they don’t really mean bulbs because other than lilies, everything else is either a corm as in gladioli, a tuber as in begonia, a rhizome as in canna lily or a tuberous root which is what a dahlia is. 

But I guess it’s just as easy to call them all bulbs. 

All joking aside, I love to get in when the stock first arrives when they are the freshest. 

In particular, it is very important to get the lily bulbs early. They can be planted as soon as the ground can be dug. 

If you wait until April, chances are they will be past their best and even quite useless for any kind of showing. 

Now is the time as well to pick up a few begonia tubers and start them in potting soil on the windowsill. 

Do this and you will have an unbelievable show all summer long in the shade garden along with the hostas and other woodland species.

Dahlia roots and cannas can be started early (mid-March) in one gallon pots to get a jump on things. 

They can be put out on warm sunny days and brought in if frost is expected. 

A great trick with dahlias is to take a cutting of the new growth after it reaches about six inches. 

They root very easily and you can get more bang for your buck.

This also makes the parent plant much bushier.


As you read this column, I will be on a tour bus to Seattle loaded with my gardening friends as we all anticipate a wonderful trip to the North West Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. 

With over 120 seminars to choose from and over a dozen large landscape displays to offer ideas, I will come home with lots to tell you over the next few weeks. 


There are still a few seats available in my classes held at the UBCO campus:

Pruning: Saturday, March 5, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Trees and Shrubs (woody ornamentals): Saturday, March 12

Plants and Flowers (herbaceous ornamentals): Saturday, March 19

Roses: Saturday, March 26

Home Landscape design: Saturday, April 2

For more information or to register call the folks at UBCO, 250-807-9289, or go to  www.ubc.ca/okanagan/continuingstudies.

Also check out my You Tube super-fast landscape project by googling Random Acts of Creativity-Horticulture.

Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 News Talk Sports Saturday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m. 

Just Posted

Repairs underway to West Kelowna road after flood damage

A portion of Lower Glenrosa Road will be closed until at least Monday says the city

Rally in Kelowna to protest pipeline

Forty people gather outside MP’s office to protest Trans Mountain pipeline project

Protect the Water rally today in Kelowna

The rally will be held at No. 102 – 1420 St Paul Street, Kelowna.

Feature Friday: Is the sky the limit for downtown Kelowna construction?

City building up, not out, as high rise living becomes more popular

Free theatre performance for Lake Country families

Robinson Crusoe + Friday will be performed at Creekside Theatre April 14

What’s happening

Find out which events are taking place in the Okanagan and Shuswap this weekend

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Most Read