Ensure next year’s garden is bountiful by planting these bulbs now.
Originally featured on HGTV.
In autumn, plant spring-flowering bulbs in a full-sun location in good garden loam, and remember that larger bulbs produce bigger flowers. After flowering, deadhead the plants, but leave their foliage to mature naturally (don’t tie or braid it). By planting bulbs that flower in early, mid- and late spring, you’ll be assured of a steady succession of blooms all season.
1. ‘Exotic Emperor’ Double Fosteriana Tulip
Growing 40 centimetres tall on thick, sturdy stems, ‘Exotic Emperor’ produces cool white double blooms with occasional streaks of green that are framed by gently twisting green-and-white outer petals. The loose fragrant flowers look best when bulbs are densely planted three centimetres apart in clumps of 12 or more. Early spring.
2. ‘Canadian Liberator’ Triumph Tulip
Named in honour of the Canadian armed forces that freed the Netherlands in the Second World War, ‘Canadian Liberator’ grows 50 centimetres tall and produces large, perfectly shaped shiny red flowers. If solid colours don’t appeal, try combining it with yellow (‘Strong Gold’) or white (‘White Dream’) Triumphs that bloom at the same time. Mid-spring.
3. ‘Menton’ Single Late Tulip
The last of their clan to bloom, late tulips provide a valuable bridge between spring bulbs and early summer perennials. ‘Menton’ bears large egg-shaped flowers on 65-centimetre-tall stems. The petals are rosy pink edged with pale orange, giving an overall peach effect, reminiscent of the glowing sunsets in the French Riviera town it’s named for. Late spring.
1. ‘Tête-à-tête’ Dwarf Daffodil
Often the first daffodil to flower, ‘Tête-à-Tête’ grows 20 centimetres tall and bears up to three nodding, fragrant six-centimetre-wide flowers per stem with yellow petals and dark gold cups. Easy to grow in pots overwintered in an unheated garage, it also looks beautiful naturalized in turfgrass. Early spring.
2. ‘Yellow Cheerfulness’ Double Daffodil
Unlike many double-flowered daffodils that flop over after a shower, strong-stemmed ‘Yellow Cheerfulness’ grows 45 centimetres tall and bears up to four two-centimetre-wide sweetly scented pale yellow flowers. Pair with fragrant white-flowered ‘Cheerfulness’ (shown below). Mid-spring.
3. ‘Hawera’ Triandus Daffodil
‘Hawera’ grows 25 centimetres tall and bears one or two flowering stems per bulb, each with up to eight nodding, fragrant yellow blooms. Excellent in spring containers and window boxes or as cut flowers, it’s also at home in flowerbeds and rockeries. Late spring.
OTHER SPRING BLOOMS
1. ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ Dwarf Iris
Iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ (Reticulata), Zone 4
Easy-to-grow bulbous irises bloom with the snowdrops (Galanthus cvs.), and they look fantastic planted together. ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ grows 15 centimetres tall and bears pale blue petals with yellow highlights and dark blue veins. Clumps increase in size every year. Early spring.
2. ‘Globemaster’ Allium
Allium ‘Globemaster’, Zone 5
One of the largest ornamental onions, ‘Globemaster’ grows 100 centimetres tall and produces huge 25-centimetre-wide spheres of deep lavender flowers. It attracts bees and butterflies and makes a great dried flower. Plant bulbs 30 centimetres apart in groups of three or more. Late spring.
3. ‘Mount Hood’ Grape Hyacinth
Muscari ‘Mount Hood’, Zone 3
Two-toned ‘Mount Hood’ grows 15 centimetres tall and bears sky-blue flowers with white flowers at the top of the spike. It’s easy to naturalize, so plant in clumps of 15 or more. Mid-spring.
4. Large-flowered Crocus
Crocus vernus cvs., Zone 3
Crocuses can be grown in flowerbeds or naturalized in turfgrass. We recommend choosing 15-centimetre-tall large-flowered crocuses rather than smaller snow crocuses (C. chrysanthus cvs.), as they have greater visual impact. They’re available in single colours or (our pick) as mixes with white, yellow and purple flowers. Early spring.