Grape purple lollipops are bouncing and bobbing on the spring breeze. Alluring alliums bring exuberance, height, and brilliant pops of colour to the spring garden! Read more about alliums by clicking here.
A last hurrah for the terrific tulips! Thanks to early, mid and late spring blooming varieties, and thanks to our cooler temps, the glorious show has lasted over a month. Whether pert and perky, floppy and luscious, swirled and curled, frilled and fancy, blushing and romantic, or kapows of thrilling colour – tulips are just stellar in the spring garden!
I had a walkabout this morn to cherish the last of the daffodils – we have jungle warm temps forecast for the rest of the week that will brown out the last of their blooms. From buttery golden, to fragile pearlescent, lemon yellow, or accents of blush or orange, daffodils offer dazzling range. Six ‘petals’ (tepals) surround a center ‘cup’ (corona), that is often frilled and of a contrasting colour (with the double Rip Van Winkle blooms above as an exception!). Pert blooms nod atop strong leafless stems that blend with spring green leaf blades. By planting an assortment of daffodil bulbs, their iconic cheer can enrich your garden from early to mid-spring, or until we get that first several days of hotter weather. Bulbs are planted out in the fall, and are not a favourite of squirrels! Above photos include some of my favourites: Green Eyes, Jetfire, Rip Van Winkle, Velocity and Ice Follies, but there are many, many varieties for experimenting!
Technical stuff – Daffodil/Narcissus, perennial bulb flower, height varies greatly by variety, sun to part sun, bloom early to mid-spring, like most bulbs they appreciate well drained soil and snip off browned blooms leaving the foliage to feed the bulbs for next year’s show.
Sometimes (okay, often!) a particular bloom will capture me. I appreciated every detail of this elegant tulip: the stately, slim stem, the curl and flare of its petals, the snow white centers with a splash of lemon yellow, the curvy, matte green leaves. I am romanced by its graceful form blushing rosy pink. On a sunny day it reaches to the sky and the blossoms softly splay to the warmth of the sun. These were new bulbs, called ‘Tender Whisper’, planted last fall. I am reminded why, even though I have many, many bulbs in the garden, it is so worth planting a few new ones for delight in the spring! See more tulips by clicking here.
Be it true blue, or pink, yellow, orange, red, purple or white – hyacinth will satisfy your colour craving! And the divine perfume of hyacinth is one of the joys of spring, whether you get down on hands and knees to drink in the tantalizing fragrance straight from the bloom, or bask in the wafts of scent drifting on the spring breeze. The stalky cone clusters with rows of trumpet blooms, emerge from wide blades of bright green. Like all flowering bulbs, once the flowers have browned cut them back, but leave the foliage to feed the bulbs for next year’s show.
Technical stuff – Hyacinth/Hyacinthus orientalis, bulbous perennial hardy to zone 4, height of about 10” and spread of about 3”, full or part sun, like all bulbs appreciates good drainage, plants bulbs in the fall for blooms in spring.
After the snow of winter, we should crave colour, colour and more colour. But there is something pure, fresh, crystalline, soothing about white blooms. Add a few raindrops to make them glisten, and I can’t resist!
Read more about white blooms by clicking here.
In the morn there was a scattering of crocus - after a sun-filled, warm, spring day, there were masses of crocus! How I adore their 'vases' of jaunty striped blades, their cheerful bursts of pastels, and their saffron centers. I planted this particular patch over 10 years ago, and it just keeps rewarding!
As warm spring rains refresh the sweet earth, our gardens start to percolate. We watch excitedly for snowdrops, crocus and the early shoots of daffodils, hyacinth, tulips and more. It is this excitement we need to remember at bulb planting time in the fall!
Tulip blooms are at their most enchanting when they open to billowy, romantic fullness, just before the petals start to droop. This elegant, white beauty came from the grocery store - an easy pick-me-up for this time of year! And you can re-plant the bulbs – click here to read more.
Captivating alliums must be included in your spring blooming bulb shopping! These grand purple spheres add drama to any garden. Also called ornamental onions, alliums are part of the onion and garlic family, though thankfully these stellar bloomers do not bear much familial scent. Alliums are best known for their impressive ‘purple ball’ blooms, but they do come in white, pink, yellow, blue and shades of purple and mauve. The blooms can be the size of a golf ball or as big as a bowling ball. Bunches of wide green blades erupt in the spring, followed by sturdy thick stems, buds and then the brilliant blooms. Alliums bloom from spring into summer, and most have intriguing seed heads. As with any spring blooming bulbs, you leave the foliage to brown and feed the bulbs for next year’s show, so planting amongst other perennials and shrubs will cover for later in the season. As an extra benefit, squirrels, deer and bunnies are not fond of alliums. Some of my favourite varieties include – Purple Sensation (most popular), Globemaster (huge blooms), Azureum (also called ‘blue of the heavens’, amazing colour), Ivory Queen (snowy white balls) and Stars of Persia (magical starry blooms).
Technical stuff – Perennial spring blooming bulbs to Zone 4 (or some Zone 3 with lots of mulching), height of 6” to 3’+ depending on variety, preferring full sun and good drainage, plant bulbs out in fall.
More blissfully blooming tulips! Most of my tulips are now in bloom - I am madly taking photos before we get a few consecutive ‘hot’ weather days that will conk them out. There are over 3,000 registered varieties of tulips, so you can seriously collect this perennial bulbous flowering plant. Choose from fringed, parrot, lily, rembrandt, single or double (also called peony tulips) and more. Tulips are also a wonderful cut flower, and the colour will decide if it is a romantic or cheerful bouquet!
I celebrate the tulip! Any plant with such a range of colour and form is a garden champion. I wander my garden to indulge in red elegance with exotic black centers, juicy orange and coral with hints of purple, simple sweet pink, and lush double peony tulips. A cool spring extends the performance of spring bulb flowers. And tulips come in early to late bloomers, just extending the joy! The lifecycle of a tulip bloom inspires at every stage - from expectant to bursting bud, opening to a fresh glistening blossom, that then spreads wide to the sun, and eventually fades on gracefully arching stems to drip petals softly to the earth. I can't get enough, and take many photos....
Trudging along in my winter mukluks at the grocery store, I round the corner to an array of spring bulbs in bright pots with crinkly pastel plastic. I melt at the vision of knotted hyacinth buds, soft green shoots of crocus, and nodding tulip buds. These fantastic bundles promise colour and scent – not just fragrance, but also that fresh, green smell of spring. I even inhale the rich, earthy scent of the moist soil. Little pots of anticipation and cheer to help get us through February! And when they finish blooming, I keep the greenery lightly watered until April/May, when you can tuck them as-is into the garden (I take the whole ‘pot clump’ and plant it). I am reminded that my hundreds of spring bulbs are lying in wait beneath the thick white blanket. Last year’s spring photos above are another reminder that 2014 blooms are on their way!