Planting for Mid-Spring Blooms

Planting for Mid-Spring Blooms
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Your snowdrops have bloomed and you've seen the crocus poke their heads out, but now you need blooms to brighten up the mid-spring!
The list below are of bulbs that bloom in what is considered midspring. This is often guess work since weather and other factors can make some bulbs bloom earlier or later.

Checkered Lily (Fritillaria meleagris)

Species Tulips (Tulipa spp.)

Early Tulips (Tulipa spp.)

Early Alliums (Allium spp.)

Hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)

Medium-Cupped Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)

Many of us our familiar with these bulbs. I love alliums, though they do sometimes look "weedy" with the onion-like foliage since they are basically ornamental onions. I think they work well planted in groups rather than planted throughout a bed. The taller varieties are also nice planted in the back of the border with daffodils or tulips planted in front. The alliums do help keep the squirrels out of the beds because they don't like the taste or smell. They have different bloom times so always read the information and consider than when planting.

The other two bulbs I'd like to profile are the Summer Snowflake and the Checkered Lily. Both like similar locations and are charming spring bulbs.

Summer Snowflake , Leucojum aestivum, is related to the snowdrop but is much easier to grow. It's an heirloom bulb and was mentioned in garden writing as early as the 1500's. It's a lovely plant with white bell shaped flowers that have green on the tips. They remind me of white lace. The leaf stalks are thin and tall--about a foot--and they have 2-5 blooms per stem. They will survive in Zone 3 with mulch and other zones without. It blooms for several weeks. Plant where it is fairly moist in a sunny or partially shady spot. They will grow in almost any type of soil. After they bloom be sure to allow the foliage to wither before cutting it. Snowflakes will grow in one spot for years and will naturalize. If you would like to divide them, then do it after they bloom. They are lovely planted in groups.

Checkered Lily, Fritillaria meleagris, is also known as Snake's-head fritillaria and Guinea-hen flower. This is such a unique bulb! It's bulb shaped blooms actually have a checkerboard pattern. Scientists are fascinated with this bulb because it's been found to have huge amounts of DNA, and no ones knows why. A mystery flower to be sure! The blooms range from reddish purple to white with a very very light checkerboard pattern. You can buy mixes which will have a variety of the colors. They prefer a richer, moist soil and should be planted at least 4 inches deep as soon as you get the bulbs. They are small and dry out quickly, so don't wait on planting. Plant them in groups of ten or more. This fritillaria will grow about a foot tall. It's hardy in Zones 4 to 8, but with mulch are probably okay even if it's colder. The foliage will die away quickly in the spring after blooming. Don't "hide" this bulb among too many other plants. It can be hard to see, especially the purple/maroon blooms, if it's hidden behind too much foliage.

Both of these unique bulbs are spring treasures. Though I love the daffodils and tulips, it's always a wonderful treat in the spring to find other bulbs growing among them for contrast.


 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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