If you can catch a break between the successive rain events that have plagued our area….it is not too late to plant your spring bulbs! The rain and moderate temperatures have extended your window to create a spring display for next season. A creative spring bulb display can bring early smiles to your garden. The color, texture and variety provided by spring bulbs is a nice wake up for a new season of gardening. This is a good time to buy your bulbs. If you visit your favorite garden center you will find great buys. Last week I noticed spring bulbs on sale at one location for 50% off the original price. The season is always right to save a few dollars !
Gardeners know the familiar collection of spring bulbs: tulip, daffodil, and hyacinths. But did you know there are “minor spring bulbs” that will add bloom time and design creativity to your displays. I have used these bulbs for many years. A recent article in The American Gardener introduced me to the “minor bulb” label. These are what I often refer to as my “dwarf varieties”: crocus, grape hyacinths, snowdrops, reticulated iris and daffodil Tet-e-tets.
Minor bulbs generally run 3-8 inches tall, feature tiny early to mid spring blooms and will multiply where they are happily planted. Their ability to multiply makes these spring bulbs a wise investment…..more “bloom for your buck”! I use these for a number of creative design applications:
- They provide a pleasant visual amid the emerging perennials
- They provide a nice space filler before safely planting your annuals
- Placing them at entrances offers a welcome before other plants can step in for the season
- Gives your whimsical garden ornaments a little flair by planting them around the bases
- Popping some in amid your creeping perennials (particularly the sedums) creates an eye catching effect
- Planting them nearby overwinter Heuchera and ginger leaves offers nice texture and contrast
- Planting at the base of winter interest shrubs like the red twig dogwood provides great contrast before shrub leaf out.
- Their height makes them a great front boarder choice for your other emerging spring bulbs
Take advantage of the milder weather and plant a more creative spring bulb display this fall using the “Minor Bulbs”. They will be a welcome, colorful sight after our long and dark North Country winters. As always, “keeping common sense and sustainability at the core of all my garden practices”.