Spring bulbs are rarely on our minds in July.
And yet, they should be. If we garden in the northern hemisphere, now is the time to order bulbs for fall planting (if we didn’t place our orders in spring). If we garden in the southern hemisphere, we can anticipate the bulbs that will begin blooming soon.
I love planting bulbs in the garden because they are so easy, require so little care, and make such an impact.
While some are enticing to pests like deer and squirrels, there are many bulbs these animals will ignore, like Narcissus (daffodil), Allium, Camassia, and Fritillaria.
Here are some especially beautiful and unusual bulbs to consider ordering right now:
- White flowers really stand out from a distance. In the evening they are often the only flowers we can still see in our gardens. I love planting large numbers of a beautiful white lily-shaped tulip called ‘White Triumphator’
- One of my garden goals is to highlight my flowering bulbs with companion plants rather than mulch. Even the prettiest daffodil looks better set against the colors of other plants rather than the brown of mulch or soil. A tip I learned in this recent article comes from one of my favorite Pennsylvania gardens, Chanticleer. Chanticleer gardeners recommend picking up a packet of purple-leaved lettuce. Bulbs will look amazing contrasted with purple lettuce seedlings.
- Scilla siberica is a small bulb that can carpet the area under a tree with shades of blue.
- After blooming, bulb foliage should always be left to die back naturally. Never cut it back before it loses all of its green color. This ensures that the bulb is fed for next year’s flowers. Small, early blooming bulbs can be planted right in the lawn. By the time the grass needs mowing, the bulb foliage has already done its job. I like to plant crocus tommasinianus, or “tommies” as they are often called, because they are supposed to be a little less appealing to squirrels than other crocus.
- While some bulbs like tulips and daffodils need a period of good winter cold in order to flower, there are bulbs that do well in areas with warmer winters. Try Alliums, Crinum, Paperwhites, Spring Snowflake (Leucojum vernum), and Spider Lily (Hymenocallis caroliniana).