Spring Blooming Bulbs
The Long, Cold Winter
If you are like me, by the time February comes around you are itching to get outside and garden. You have already ordered your seeds and planned your garden, but winter still has it's grip on your area. It seems like winter will never end! To combat the late-winter doldrums, taking some extra steps in the fall by planting early spring bulbs can help alleviate those late-winter blues.
Early Spring Risers (plant in Fall)
- Muscari aka Grape Hyacinth
- Early Tulips
- Checker Lily
- Dutch Iris
Crocus come in a selection of colors. The most common are purple, white, variegated purple and yellow. They are one of the first bulbs to show themselves in early spring. Bloom time is usually late March to early April (zone 5). These bulbs are best suited for areas that have a full winter. They need a chill period in order to bloom. Crocus are very easy to care for, but note that hungry rabbits and deer will and do eat them. You can either over-plant your area knowing that you will lose some or you can plant in an area that is fenced from critters. Another option, and one I use in my own garden, is to plant them among things deer and rabbits don't like such as Daffodils. Mine have been left alone using this practice.
Snowdrops are usually the very first bulbs to come up and bloom in early spring. It isn't uncommon to see them while there is still snow on the ground. Very delicate and beautiful, Snowdrops are best planted in large drifts where they can naturalize an area, such as under a tree.
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)
Nothing ushers in spring like the vibrant blue of Muscari. They look great by themselves or inter-planted between other bulbs. They are also great front-of-the border plants. They put on quite a show, blooming in April through early May. Like Snowdrops, they can be planted en masse under a tree or in an area you would like naturalized. I've also seen them planted right in someone's lawn and then mowed down at the end of their bloom time with the first lawn mowing of the season.
Depending on the variety, Tulips can be categorized as blooming Early Spring, Mid-Spring and Late-Spring. These varieties in the photo above are in the Early Spring category. This photo was taken in early April. I like to plant a variety of all three types of Tulips so I am in constant supply of blooms. Once the early ones die back, another batch is ready to take their place.
Daffodils come in a wide variety of bloom times, colors, sizes and scents. Both deer and rabbits despise them, which makes them a fool-proof option for spring color. They require little care. Once the flowers fade, let the leaves die back on their own. The leaves will photosynthesize and this will help the bulbs store energy for the following spring.
A most unusual looking flower, checker lily is another great front-of-the border plant. The most common colors are burgundy (shown above) and white. While it looks delicate, this nodding flower comes back year after year and isn't picky about the conditions it is grown in. It prefers shade to part-shade and blooms mid-April.
Not to be confused with it's much larger cousins, Dutch Iris are small, perky little flowers that bloom April through May. Very dependable, they prefer full sun to part sun. Hardy little plants can be cut and made into small bouquets, perfect for gifting to a friend or neighbor.
Saying Goodbye to Winter
By taking the time in the fall to plant some bulbs, you can help winter say goodbye once it has overstayed it's welcome.
Spring Bulb Poll
Which type of bulb are you most excited about planting/ seeing in the Spring?
© 2014 Lisa Roppolo