Hi again, Dawn.
I forgot to mention them, but Mary is right. Planting bulbs now for blooms in spring is so easy
that the very first time I tried, they all came up and were glorious. Easier than seeds! Maybe even easier than setting out plants, because the bulbs aren't as fussy as recently-transplanted plants.
Read the planting depth from the bag, figure out which end of the bulb has roots (they go down, the point goes up), dig holes or push the bulbs, cover and firm. I guess they need some water to get established, but they are much less fussy than seeds that way. (I guess you'll find out the first year if you have voles, moles or rodents that know to dig up bulbs and eat them. If you do, there are tricks with hardware cloth and hot pepper powder to try.
Just pick a spot that drains quite well, or make a raised mound somewhere and plant them in that (like a slightly raised bed without any walls). That's just to make sure the bulb isn't sitting below the water table all winter.
Giant Hyacinths smell GREAT.
Daffodils are showy and reliable.
Crocuses come up very early.
Tulips are pretty.
Grape Hyacinths spread like wild for me, but they aren't very pretty.
I gather that different bulbs come back more reliably in different areas, for example, tulips are "not supposed to" come back in the coastal PNW (but the one I planted came back 3 years now). Giant Hyacinths are not supposed to come back for me, but maybe 1/4 of mine did, much smaller.
If there is a local nursery that can be TRUSTED, they might mainly sell bulbs suited to coming back in your area. Big Box stores will sell anything that lives long enough to be scanned at the cash register, and if you have to buy all new bulbs again next year, they are happy.
BTW, one defense against being overwhelmed is GADD (Gardener's Attention Deficit Disorder). If you have too many things running around in your mind, just skip from one to the next whimsically and focus on whatever is right in front of you at the moment. Some projects will be half-done for multiple years, but that's just another name for "evolving and refining" your plans as you learn from trial and "error".
And what, really, is an "error" in a garden? You either get results you like, learn what you don't like, or learn what not to do next time. Win, win, learn.
On the other hand (based solely on reading, not experience), it sounds like some gardeners have disciplined, methodical minds. (I wonder what THAT would be like!) They plan things ahead and know what they want years ahead. Then they execute their plan like Sherman marching to the sea. Their plants had BETTER cooperate! Sometimes they even plan ahead of time what colors and heights go together, and which things bloom when. So I have read (shaking head skeptically.)
Assuming those wild claims have any basis in reality, I GUESS that someone so inclined could fight off Garden Overwhelmus
by picking just a few easy things to do at first, and then abide by that schedule
and do ONLY those things for the first year.
But how would they fight off "LOOK at that pretty picture! I MUST have a dozen of those bulbs and plant them SOMEWHERE!"
And "These plants snuck into my cart when I wasn't looking, but now I have to find a bed to put them in!"
And "I tried wintersowing and now I have HUNDREDS of these seedlings and DOZENS of those ... "
I would urge you to jump into the deep end and let the flowers teach you what does and doesn't work well, or which of the many pieces of advice might really matter in your conditions.
As one experienced gardener told me when I was disappointed that so many of my seedlings were dying: "If you don't kill SOME plants, you aren't trying hard enough. You learn by doing, and by trying things you haven't tried before."
I would add that many people try to imitate Nature. Well, if one plant produces 100,000 seeds, Nature expects on average that 99,999 of those seeds will die, to maintain a constant population. If we try things that only work 1% of the time, that is still 1,000 times better than Nature's success rate. How can we call that "failure"? It's just "learning".
I bet someone could write a pretty good book by seeking out advice, and then testing what happens when you do the opposite of "what everyone knows". My guess is that most "good advice" is really only necessary some of the time.