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by Suzanne DeJohn

A simple trick to get long-lasting color from your bulb garden is to layer the bulbs at planting time. In general, the larger the bulb, the deeper it should be planted. To layer bulbs, you plant the largest bulbs first, then plant smaller bulbs in layers above them. Here's how:

1. Choose a variety of different types of bulbs and sort them by size -- for example, large-cupped daffodils (large bulbs), Triumph tulips (medium bulbs) and grape hyacinth (small bulbs).

2. Dig out the planting area to a depth of about 10 inches. Set the largest bulbs in the bottom of the hole, spacing them 4 to 6 inches apart, then backfill the hole with soil until the bulbs are just covered.

3. Next, plant the medium-sized bulbs. Don't worry about planting right over the bulbs in the first layer; the shoots of the bottom bulbs will find their way to the surface. Backfill the hole to barely cover these bulbs with soil.

4. Now plant the smallest bulbs. Fill in the hole with soil so the area is slightly higher than the surrounding garden -- you want excess water to drain away, not sit in a puddle over the bulbs.

In just a few minutes you've just set the stage for a dramatic and colorful spring show!