Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are the harbingers of spring. In an area like Western New York, seeing crocus buds poke their heads out of the snow can feel like winning a marathon. If you want to freshen up you beds with early spring blooms, consider incorporating bulbs in to your landscape. Daffodils, alliums, and tulips come in a variety of sizes and colors and will compliment your existing landscaping. Bulbs are the lazy gardener's plant- just plant them and walk away.
Plant during the fall- If you want your bulbs to bloom the spring you'll need to get them in the ground the previous fall. I consider this a blessing! The weather is beautiful, there's nothing else to plant. Follow the instructions- Pay careful attention to the planting instructions that accompany the bulbs. It may be tempting to skimp on the planting depth, but you may regret it. Not only will this effect the bulb's development, but enterprising squirrels might dig them up and take a few bites. Squirrel digging can be unavoidable, so make sure you check on the newly planted bulbs once in awhile. Just replant the ones that were pulled up until they're safe under a blanket of snow.
Plant in groups- I strongly recommend planting similar bulbs in clusters or groups instead of individually or in a straight line. Look up some examples online and you'll see they make a greater visual statement when planted this way. Even large alliums look better when planted in groups of three. If you want to add interest consider mixing colors or varieties within your mass plantings. Look online- Avoid bulbs sold at major home improvement chains. They may be the cheap, but the low price comes at a different cost. There's no way to know how old they are or the conditions under which they were stored. There's a limited selection, and some of the varieties they sell would not survive in our climate. Consider looking at online companies instead. You'll have a broader selection of colors and varieties, and they usually have some great sales in the late summer/fall months.
Cutting back- After the blooms are spent and the leaves start to turn brown you can cut them to the ground if you wish. I prefer to leave them untouched for as long as I can stand it- allowing the plant to go through it's full life cycle means healthier plants in the long run.