Planting flowerbulbs is one of my favorite fall gardening tasks. I like to do this on crisp, sunny autumn days, knowing that in a few months crocuses, tulips and daffodils will brighten winter-weary spirits.
If you plan carefully, the show can last from late winter to June. The beauty of spring-flowering bulbs is their incredible variety, in size and shape, color and bloom time.
In fall when the garden is still full of foliage from summer’s perennials, it’s hard to recall how stark the beds can look in early spring. So be sure to plant abundantly so your spring show has impact.
Daffodils and scilla both naturalize well
Spring color with tulips, daffodils and hyacinths
If there’s one bulb that seems to personify spring, it has to be tulips. These bulbs are the ultimate visual spring tonic, and there are scores of wonderful tulip varieties to choose from. You can even go for the drama of ‘black’ tulips.
Next to tulips, daffodils are amongst the best-loved spring bulbs, and unlike tulips, their flowers are deer and squirrel-proof.
Beloved for their spring fragrance, modern hyacinths come in showy colors, and are easy to force for indoor display.
More attractive and wildlife-proof flowerbulbs
Tulips may be the most popular spring flowers, but there are many lovely, easy-to-grow, lesser-known bulbs: windflowers (Anemone blanda), wild hyacinth (Camassia), guinea-hen flower (Fritillaria meleagris), Persian fritillaria, (Fritillaria Persica) and Bulgarian ornamental onion (Nectaroscordum siculum).
Fortunately, most of them are unappealing to deer and squirrels. If you’re looking for easy-care gardening, many of these lesser known, unusual spring bulbs naturalize. That means they come back year after year, spreading if they’re happy.
More must-grow spring bulbs:
Crocus: Must-have bulbs for very early spring color
Snowdrops: Delicate, but tough harbingers of spring
Muscari: Cute violet-blue flowers
Alliums (ornamental onions): Add a touch of whimsy to gardens
Flowerbulbs that spread: How to naturalize with spring bulbs
Photo: © Y.Cunnington