Spring Bulbs and Perennials
Ten of My Favorite Seasonal Plants ~ Plus A New Interest
Long before spring has arrived I'm already anticipating the breaking forth of the new season of color. Since I began gardening I've been planting a variety of bulbs and perennials, with each year adding a new "favorite" to my rather large collection.
Since spring is my favorite time of year, I wanted to share with you some of the flowers that have been a part of my gardens over the years. For this article I've selected ten with an interest in adding a new one to the mix.
You will find a brief description on my findings for the plants along with helpful videos with instructions. Let me know which you like best and tell me how they have worked in your garden. Each selection is available for purchase at this time.
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Poll: Bulbs & Perennials
Do you plant bulbs and perennials in your garden?
Learn more about spring planting and gardens.
Also available on Amazon: Perennial Combinations: Stunning Combinations That Make Your Garden Look Fantastic Right from the Start (Rodale Garden Book) Paperback or Hardback.
You'll find lots of ideas on combining the right bulbs and perennials in your yard in this 384 page book. There is a plant list, diagrams and photographs to help you design the right flower garden for your yard.
This is a Kindle edition of things you may need to know in planting a bulb garden.
Doug answers some of the most asked questions about when and where to plant bulbs.
For me, Crocus plants represent that spring is right around the corner. They are among the first to pop up even in the snow. I like to plant them along the sidewalk or in the flower bed at the corner end of the house to soften the sharpness of it.
They only need to be planted about an inch deep. Some even plant them in their grass and mow over them when they have finished blooming.
The best time to plant crocus bulbs is in the fall so the plants get a chance to go into the dormant stage. When you plant them its more effective, I think anyway, to place them in small groups. Plant your bulbs with the pointy side up and about a few inches deep. They do like the sun, but can be planted in the shade. You can also grow them indoors in a sunny window and in about 2 months they will bloom.
Crocus Planting Videos
Crocus Bulbs - Click on the photo for details.
Did you know that there are over 90 kinds of crocus and that they can bloom in the spring, fall or winter? Depending on the type, some even flower before their leaves appear.
There are many more varieties of Crocus available like the purple Dutch Crocus Remembrance bulbs, but I have selected a few of my favorites that remind me of my mother.
Daffodils - Types of Daffodils
I think that I sometimes go overboard with these plants, meaning I love to collect them. Tulips and Daffodils come in so many vibrant colors these days they look like designer fashions. Forget just settling for plain Jane favorites and step out with some stripes, two tones, double bloomers and ruffled flowers that will really set your garden apart from your neighbors.
One year we planted over 200 bulbs in every color and variety you can image. When they came into bloom it was like having my very own rainbow, and my choice of flowers for arrangements was spectacular. We even had a hard time keeping the deer away.
For the most part tulips and daffodils are planted the same way. Tulip bulbs are larger than daffodils. However, if you want to have a spring garden with bulbs, the rule of thumb is that they need to be planted in the fall. How deep you plant the bulb depends on its size.
Chose a sunny location. Dig a hole 3 times the size of the bulb and about a foot wide. Add fertilizer and stir it in. Plant the bulb pointed side up in groups of 5, 7 or 9 with a distance of a few inches between them. Make like a circular design so they grow in a bouquet fashion. If you like mix the colors of bulbs, but not the types of bulbs because they multiply at a different rate. Cover the bulbs with a fresh potting mix, water it and add a few inches of mulch on the top. This will protect the bulbs over the winter. There is no need to water your crop over the winter.
In the spring your plants will bloom in bright colors. Be sure not to cut them back after they have bloomed until after the leaves turn yellow. It's their way of letting you know they are finished for the season. Cool huh?
Planting Daffodils and Tulips Videos - Plant bulbs that are firm, not squishey which is a sign of a rotting bulb.
Daffodil (Narcissus) - Do your best to select a new variety of daffodil along with the standard yellows. You will love the change.
Daffodils come in so many colors and blends that they make wonderful bridal or table arrangements. Try adding the fragrant ones to your mix with some mini daffodils, a few ruffled or two toned varieties as well.
Paths of Tulips
We planted 3 large beds with hundreds of tulips in every color and variety even "midnight black." Tulips are a good choice for a bulb because they multiply each year, and before long they can fill out a nice sized area.
The tulips surrounded purple Rose-of-Sharon trees and were nestled in a circular fashioned brick wall area.
Glory of the Snow - Daffodils, Crocus & Glory of the Snow
Glory of the Snow is A Sea of Beauty
Early Snow Glories Specialty Bulbs By Breck's 67279-156
I like to have plants in my garden that remind me of my family, like this Lucile's Glory-of-the-Snow, which was named after the wife of Pierre Edmond Boissier.
It's not a flower that lasts very long and goes dormant right after it blooms, but while it is in season it brings the sky level to the ground with its beautiful blue color. This plant is so versatile and can grow in a field, a rock bed or pots. For a tiered or layered look, plant it among your yellow daffodils or tulips.
Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa Luciliae). Select from several two toned vaireties including pink, blue and white or elegant blue/purple. This product is currently unavailable on Amazon but I wanted to display it for idea purposes.
Glory of the Snow Videos
It's sometimes hard to locate this delicate in appearance, but otherwise sturdy plant in the snow. Snow Drops like to burst out of the snow giving the sensation of little flurries falling back to the earth creating a carpet of droplets all over the ground.
There are many kinds of Snowdrop plants with different markings. What they do have in common besides their wonderful fragrance, is the two long leaves that look like rabbit ears to me.
When you get your bulbs or plants, get them in the ground as soon as possible, because they dry out really quickly. Plant in large groups or even in a pattern in a wooded area for best results. Some flower in early fall, but most bloom in early spring around mid March. Make sure your soil is a bit alkaline, not acidic. Plant them about 6 inches deep and keep them moist even in the summer.
Snow Drops Videos
Hyacinths with Yellow Daffodils
Growing Hyacinths - Available from Amazon: Fragrant Hyacinth Collection Specialty Bulbs by Van Bourgondien 87723-52
Hyacinths are my husbands favorite spring flower and probably mine too. What I like the most about this plant is its wonderful heavy fragrance. To me the deep purple always seems to smell the best. Every Easter we get some of these plants and put them on the porch. It doesn't take long before the entire porch has the aroma of this beautiful flower. We used to bring them in the house, but that turned out to be a bad idea once we had cats.
You can pick from several colors including white, lavender, deep purple, pink and burgundy (crimson). I like to add some of the grape variety as well. Each bears about six leaves with one spiked flower about eight inches tall. The hyacinth is from the lily family and is a plant that will do well in either sun or partial shade. Planting is pretty easy, just place the bulb pointed side up and about 3 inches deep. Make sure the soil has good drainage. For some reason this plant is not a loner, meaning it likes company and actually does better when planted in groups.
You can get a lovely affect by planting rows of the same color mixed in with daffodils, tulips and even grape hyacinths.
How to Grow Hyacinths Videos
What is a perennial?
A perennial is a plant that will come back the next growing season year after year.
Why have perennials in your garden?
It saves on money having to replace flowers each season.
The key is to plant the right one in the correct location.
Be sure to check the statistics of the plant
before you purchase it.
Meaning pigeon in Latin
I can remember the first time I grew Columbine. Before I knew very much about this plant I put it in a small flower bed. It wasn't long before I realized that this plant was a "spreader" and had to relocate some other flowers that were sharing the space.
It is a hybrid that grows about 18 inches tall and has a vast amount of colors, blooms and sizes that comes up in early spring. This is a plant that usually likes the shade, but I didn't know that and planted it in the sun. Well, it did ok because it was mulched and surrounded by a Princess Spirea bush. Because this plant does reseed itself for the next year, be sure not to over mulch or the seeds will get lost and it won't reproduce.
After the growing season is finished and the leaves begin to die off, you can cut it back and plant other annuals near the space so it won't look bare. Select one that spreads out like inpatiens or begonias.
When planting Columbine be sure to keep it away from pets or small children because it is poisonous.
How to Grow Columbine (Aquilegia) Videos
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
This plant that is very dear to me as a Christian, because Jesus is referred to in the Bible as the Lily of the Valley. It has a light sweet scent and the flowers look like bells, which may be the reason so many brides choose this flower for their wedding bouquets.
Even though this is a plant I recommend for perennial gardens, I wouldn't put it where I have pets or where children would play since it is very poisonous. My Lily of the Valley plants were in the front yard away from the animals and among my hostas and grape hyacinths. If you plant them without any surrounding plants they will not do well or grow at all. They like shade or sun and want to be kept moist. Ours were in a flowed bed that was on a sprinkler timer, so they did pretty well among the other plants.
Like the other plants on this site, plant them in the fall for spring blooms and in groups of 3-5 for better results.
How to Plant Lily of the Valley Videos
Vinca Minor (Periwinkle)
Vinca Minor (Periwinkle)
The purple flowering Vinca Minor or Periwinkle plant is one of my seasonal favorites. I needed to fill in a bed on the side of the garage. With only about a dozen plants, this ivy like, trailing vine filled in the entire section of the house. You can see from the photo how it spreads out to cover a large section of ground if left unattended.
Vinca plants come in many colors. They make great groundcovers because they only get a few inches tall and can grow up to ten feet long. They also work well if you need to fill in an area quickly. Besides the lovely flower and fullness effect with the shiny green leaves, I liked this plant because once it fills in you rarely have to weed it. You may also like that it is an evergreen, meaning it stays green all year long.
This plant can grow in shade or full sun. It's hearty and fills in areas where it is difficult to grow anything.
Because Vinca does multiply fast you may need to thin them out every few years otherwise they will climb everywhere. Be sure not to let it grow up the siding of your home, because it can destroy it. Keep this plant trimmed for lasting beauty.
How to Grow Vinca Minor (Periwinkle) Videos
Lupine (Lupinus or Lupin)
Maybe this year?
Every year I try to grow a new type of plant. So far the Lupine hasn't made my garden (not that I can remember anyway). This is a plant from the pea family that has the tall and dwarf varieties in its line. They like full sun to partial shade, with well drained soil. It does really well among vegetables and shorter perennials or annuals. Unlike most spring flowers, the Lupine can grow up to a foot tall making it a great backdrop for other flowers. It starts to bloom from the bottom up therefore it makes it a good cut flower for arrangements.
There are almost 300 varieties of this particular flower with some being annuals, so you want to make sure you get the herbaceous variety. If you want the smaller version, they work well in pots or containers on the patio.
Although this is a really beautiful plant, some have said it grows easily but only lasts a few years. I'm not sure, however with that in mind you may want to rethink how many you wish to have in your garden. It is also not recommended that they be divided or transplanted after they have been placed in the ground, because the roots go really deep. What I do like about this spring flower is that it attracts butterflies.
There's no rushing this plant for it will take two years for it to finally bloom. Lupine does well in pretty much any soil and even likes cooler weather. It is a plant that will rebloom if you remove the dead blossoms. Watch out for aphids that tend to gravitate to this species.
Lupine Video - Maybe this year?
- Top Ten Groundcovers
Helpful guide to picking your groundcovers.
- STEPables Carpet Groundcovers
Using groundcover in your yard.
- Covering tree roots with groundcover
How to cover tree roots with groundcover.
- How to Collect Hosta Seeds
What to look for and how to dry hosta seeds.
- List of Garden Plants from A-Z
Looking for a specific plant, but don't remember it's name or origin? Check it here.
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