|The very first spring flowering : a snowdrop|
bulb. It appears at the end of March or start
of April, depending on how winter went.
This plant doesn't multiply in my garden
making it especially precious.
To reach that goal, you automatically have to consider spring bulbs, since they give the earliest flowers of all, plus they are generally quite colorful. However, if you don't think about tulips (most of them blooming in May), we don't often see other spring bulbs species in the garden.
|The Chansonnette Triumph tulip is very tall and keep its huge flower in perfect condition for weeks! Furthermore, it blooms very late (notice how my linden tree as already completely unfurled its leaves). This tulip is part of what I call the "statement plants" here. I positionned the bulbs so a ring would be fashioned around the linden tree.|
|Here's a close-up of my crocuses "Ruby Giant"|
behind the house. This planting bed is shaded
in summer by many mature trees, but in April,
those trees are still leafless. The crocuses can
enjoy every beam of sunshine all for themelves.
|The color palette of spring bulbs can satisfy many tastes since it can encompass vivid and bright colors as well as the most delicate pastels. Here, soft pink Glory-Of-The-Snow (Chionodoxa) grow through a carpet of various ground covers.|
Once we bought our second house, I was saddened to find out there was not a single crocus in that garden. What a blow! I found my yard seriously laking something. I jumped right back in the books, reading anything and everything that talked about the subject, dreaming about those once-upon-a-time early splashes of spring color amidst the brown vegetation of the beds. During that first winter in our new house, I had subscribed for a perennial plants catalog. Without asking for it, I received their fall edition that presented an impressive amount of bulbs.
|In Hélène's garden, a ring of daffodils around a tree brings color and gaity. Many varieties multiply by themselves, like these Original Poet's, an heirloom variety.|
-When the cat's away, the mice will play. In other words, spring bulbs are plants that benefit tremendously from the vast emptiness that occur in nature during springtime, but this emptiness only lasts a short while. In that season of renewal, everything takes some time to awake and flourish. The spring bulbs, on the contrary, are quick little fellows that grow up, set flower and recharge very rapidly while they have the sunshine, rain and space all for themselves. They even benefit from the undivided attention of pollinators. Then, they disappear, generally before other plants overshadow them and steal their sun and rain. The rest of the year, these bulbs that charm us so much in spring are forgotten, back in dormance.
|This is the beginning of April.|
Here, I planted my crocuses
in color patches in a bed near
the sidewalk. They're so early
that they flower before the
grass has even had the time
to turn green !
- To maximize flowerings in a restrained environment, we can plant different bulbs in the same hole. The idea is to regroup species that have different height and even better, different growing time frames, like shown in the 2 pictures above. For example, crocuses bloom at the end of March - beginning of April. On the other end narcissus flower at the end of April - beginning of May, for most of them. Round this group up with late-blooming tulips that come around the end of May - beginning of June and you have a solid block of ongoing flowers right there. Examples of such tulips that would work here are Darwin tulips and parrot tulips. If you're searching for low-growing, late-blooming, muscaris are good, flowering at the end of May - beginning of June.
- It's easier to install bulbs while creating a new garden bed. You just need to plant that bed in fall instead of spring. It's better to plant the bulbs at the same time as the neighboring plants since nothing is in our way to dig each plant's hole.
|Delicate, sky blue Pushkinias, pushing through|
a mat of lesser periwinkle (Vinca Minor).
- Spring bulbs can only be disturbed while in their dormancy state. Meaning when their leaves have brown and are dead. So if you have to lift bulbs of the ground, wait for them to flower, then wait for their leaves to turn brown naturally. Those green leaves after the blooming are recharging the bulb with energy for next year's blooming; if you cut them short (in order to moving the bulb or for the esthetism of the thing), you are jeopardizing the plant's capability for future blossoms. If you forethought the placement of your bulbs according to the placement of your other plants, these other plants may be able to grow over your bulbs while these are fading, hiding the bulbs' unsightly browning leaves with their new green leaves.
|Pink and purple yacinth flowers with early, soft yellow tulips at Hélène's. Yacinth is one of those more perfumed flowers. One or two branches are enough to perfume an entire room.|
|Left, 2012. Right, 2013. A visual on multiplication.|
|A tiny tulip that was supposed to be blue (I was sold the wrong bulbs) is still a fabulous little specimen: it's earlier than any other in my current possession, a single bulb can produce many flowers and they flower at the same time as this purple Glory of the snow that's growing next to it.|
|In Louise's garden, botanical tulips "Tulipa Bakeri" growing through that big mound of creeping phlox.|
|These big pompoms stand 3 feet from the ground on a spindly stalk bring a whimsical touch to the June garden. After a long blooming, these stalks become wondrous magic wands for kids to play with!|
|From a bed of Wormwood (Artemisia Schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'), strawberry and bronze bugle (Ajuga Reptans), grow Alliums. Even the giant hosta is dwarfed by the height of the alliums!|