For me, spring starts when the yellow winter aconites and snowdrops peek through the soil in my garden. It has been as early as March 4th here in Wisconsin, but usually occurs around Tax Day – a day when I can always use a bit of floral relief!
As the soil begins to warm, other early-blooming bulbs also begin making an appearance. It’s a great time in the garden since very few weeds have sprouted and there’s nothing to compete with these brightly colored flowers.
But this is merely the beginning of my spring bulb garden. I can look forward to a continuous parade of flowering bulbs that will be blooming right into early summer. Planning for three months of spring color isn’t difficult and it’s even easier with the help of Longfield Gardens’ Bloom Time Guide to Spring and Summer Bulbs.
Wake up the Landscape with Early Season Color
Jumpstart the season with small-scale, early-blooming bulbs. Most of us are familiar with crocus, but there are many more to help welcome warmer weather. The dainty snowdrops that are at home in the garden or wooded areas are one of the first signs that winter is loosening its grip on the garden. Plant these and other small (minor) bulbs in groupings of 12 or more for greater impact in the landscape. Most will spread quickly, creating puddles of early season color.
Add some cheery, periwinkle blue and white Chionodoxa, also known as glory-of-the-snow, to your early season garden. Each bulb produces six to ten blossoms, and best of all, you can watch them grow and multiply for years to come.
Include Siberian squill and Harmony netted iris (Iris reticulata) for an added touch of blue and white. Be sure to include some early-blooming daffodils along with your tulips.
Add a surprising element with checkered lily (Fritillaria meleagris). The petals of these nodding, bell-shaped flowers are covered with intricate patterns of cream, lavender, purple and burgundy.
Keep the Color Coming with Mid-Season Bloomers
As the days grow longer and you begin trading your heavy coat for a warm sweater, you’ll want to enjoy some of these mid-season beauties in your garden. Grow some mood-lifting daffodils like creamy white Cheerfulness or yellow Double Smiles daffodils along with some early tulips. Mix these with lower-growing grape hyacinths or ground-hugging Grecian windflowers (Anemone blanda) for an extra layer of beauty.
The earliest tulips also start opening around this time and there are four types to choose from: Early Double, Emperor, Kaufmanniana and Greigii. Each has a different flower style, height and color palette. Darwin Hybrids and triumph tulips follow a week or two later, with blossoms in every color of the rainbow. Tulips have such an important role in spring bulb gardens that the National Garden Bureau has designated 2018 as The Year of the Tulip!
Don’t forget about fragrance! Perfume your garden with an array of white, red, purple, blue or pink hyacinths. The Shades of Blue hyacinth collection combines well with any daffodil or mid-season tulip. And enjoy weeks of color with the purple, amethyst and peach hyacinths in the Pixie Dust collection. Be sure to buy a few extra to force and enjoy indoors.
Go big and exotic with crown imperials (Fritillarias). The large yellow or orange bell-shaped flowers are topped with a tuft of greenery and rise above the other spring blooms on 2- to 3-feet-tall stems. The flowers are long-lasting and deer resistant.
Create a Colorful Grand Finale
As evenings get warmer and you can start leaving your windows open more often, you’ll want to enjoy even more color from these showy spring flowering bulbs. Incorporate a bit of unique beauty with Gravetye Giant leucojums. The blossoms of these long-lived bulbs resemble white Victorian lampshades trimmed with green dots.
Fill shady areas with sky blue, white and pink Spanish bluebells, also known as wood hyacinths. Dangling clusters of bell-shaped flowers adorn these 12 to 15” tall plants.
Late season tulips include some of the most beautiful flower styles. Choose from fringed, parrot and lily-flowering tulips as well as late-blooming singles and doubles. Like all tulips, these late-bloomers look as good in a vase as they do in the garden, so be sure to plant extras for cutting.
Create a colorful bridge between spring bulbs and early summer perennials with alliums. The flowers can be as big as basketballs and stand up to 4 feet tall. Best of all, they are drought tolerant and deer resistant.
Plan to increase the beauty of your spring garden by planting bulbs that bloom early, mid and late in the season. From the very first sign of spring color to the warm days of early June, you’ll be enjoying new flowers every day.