Bulb it for a Color Blasts in the Garden!

springrosebenchBulb it for a Color Blasts in the Garden!

Gardeners always seem to be on the quest for greater color in their gardens. Like chocolate, it seems we can never get enough. We want sizzling action in our beds (ahem, garden beds) and continuous waves of color to knock our muck boots off. If we can save money and time in this pursuit, all the better. I’ve discovered an easy solution for my color lust: long-lived perennial bulbs.

Below is an excerpt from my new book, The Right-Size Flower Garden, on some fantastic long-lived bulbs as well as a few planting tips.

Flowering bulbs add another layer of color to the right-sized garden but they must meet some strict qualifications to climb in bed with hard-working, low-maintenance plants. Bulbs that fizzle out after a few years are not invited – including many in the queen of spring’s family, tulips.

Thankfully there are bulbs with staying power, as well as those that actually naturalize (increase in number) over the years. This assumes, of course, there is no interference from gnawing critters. To protect bulbs (or any plant’s roots for that matter) from becoming lunch, sprinkle chicken grit (available at farm and feed stores), crushed gravel or sea shells into the hole at planting time. These sharp fragments feel nasty on tender little noses zeroing in for a bite. They work far better than any bulb drench that eventually wears off over the years.

Here are a few of the featured bulbs in the book:

All different varieties. I am especially fond of the miniature daffs, like ‘Tete-a-Tete’with foliage that quickly ripens and disappears. Sun – Part Shade. (photo courtesy of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs)

Tulip_turkestanica_Brent_and_Beckys_BulbsSpecies Tulips
. There are many great varieties in this division. Species tulips are more petite in size (4” – 12” tall) compared to their bigger brothers and sisters but they are much hardier, long lived and will naturalize, versus slowly disappear. Two that I especially love are T. turkestanica (photo courtesy of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs) and humilis ‘Eastern Star’. Sun – Part Sun.

Casmassia_quamash_Brent_and_BeckysQuamash, Wild Hyacinth (Camassia)
. These beauties are a must in the spring garden! Native to Canada and the United States, Camassia flowers later than many other spring bulbs, usually late May into June. Small, star-shaped flowers can be various shades of blue, white and cream. Unlike most bulbs, Camassias are quite tolerant of winter wet and will prosper in damp sites. Another bonus? They are deer resistant! Sun – Part Shade. (photo courtesy of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs)

Hyacinthoides-non-scripta-white_Brent_and_beckys_bulbsSpanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides)
Spanish Bluebells have bell-shaped flowers in lovely shades of blue-violet, pink and white. They are long lived, deer resistant and create lovely displays in sun to dappled light in woodland gardens. Sun – Part Shade. (photo courtesy of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs)

Here are a few more photos of some great bulbs – all from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs: