Real eye-catchers in the garden, Gladiolus, also known as sword lilies, are cormous perennials boasting incredibly spectacular spikes of funnel-shaped flowers in summer in a surprisingly wide range of colors. Borne atop attractive fans of sword-shaped or linear leaves, they always provide a dramatic effect with their rich and cheerful colors and their breathtaking vertical lines.
The Large Flowering Amaryllis group is the most popular group with single flowers up to 8-10 in (20-25 cm). Their cultivars belong to the Galaxy group. Each bulb usually produces 2-3 stems and 4-6 flowers per stem. These exquisite Amaryllis tend to grow up to 18-24 in. tall (45-60 cm). Depending on temperature, they bloom 6-10 weeks after planting.
More and more popular, the Cybister Amaryllis are truly spectacular with their exotic, orchid-like flowers. They feature long, ribbon-like, spidery petals and splashes of bright color such as deep reds, soft green, copper, dark pink, creamy white and burgundy. They are unlike any other Amaryllis group and their cultivars belong to the Spider group.
When days grow short and winds blow cold, indoor flowers go a long way to warm the heart and cheer the soul. The easiest and most rewarding bulbs you can grow, Paperwhites are amazingly fragrant daffodils that are perfect for producing flowers in a short period of time when grown indoors. Hailing from the temperate shores of the southeastern Mediterranean, these bright, peppery-scented bulb flowers are not winter hardy. However, in warm climates (zones 8-11) with hot, dry summers, paperwhite bulbs can be planted outside where they will bloom annually for many years. Paperwhites are members of the daffodil family, Narcissus tazetta.
Naturalizing bulbs is a terrific way to brighten up lawns, prairies or meadows in spring. They also make gardening easy. Once planted, there is nothing left to do: these bulbs can stay right where they are and produce flowers year after year. What could be better?
Naturalizing bulbs is a terrific way to brighten up lawns. A surprisingly large number of perennial bulbs do well in grass, such as snowdrops (Galanthus), crocuses (Crocus), squills (Scilla), checkered lilies (Fritillaria meleagris) and plenty others charming bulbs. Left undisturbed in the ground, they will emerge again every spring, but will also gently multiply as long as they receive the right light conditions and are planted in soil with the proper drainage.
Flowering bulbs look appealing when planted under garden trees. However, planting any bulbs beneath trees is not always successful because of the dense shade cast by the trees, the competition with their roots and the lack of moisture under these trees. If a tree competes with bulbs for light, water or nutrients, the tree always wins.
The tall Alliums in particular are very impressive when towering up above lower-growing plants or ground covers. They are definitely displayed at their loveliest when placed among perennial plants in the border. Their leaves, which are usually not very attractive and which also wither back quickly after flowering, will then be hidden beneath the leaves of the perennial plants.
Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus: these are the spring bloomers everyone knows. But there are hundreds of other, lesser-known beauties to plant in fall. Some are small and delicate, others tall and ungainly. All are fabulous. Wait till you see them!
There are 20 different Snowdrop species and several hundreds of hybrids. Yes, several hundreds (!). The craze known as Galanthophilia has swept through the ranks of gardening enthusiasts in the past few years. While all snowdrops look the same to the uninitiated - dainty, nodding white flowers, with a dab of green, held on a thin arching stalk at the end of a thicker stem - they reveal their differences when you take a closer look.
Robust and hardy, Ipheion (Spring Starflower) are small bulbous perennials with lovely star-shaped, sweet violet scented flowers borne on long slender scapes in mid to late spring. Blooming for up to 8 weeks, the dainty blossoms rise atop a cushion of narrow, pale, delicate and grass-like leaves. Regarded to be one of the easiest bulbs to grow
Native to North America, Camassias (Camas) are bulbous perennials with long racemes of up to 100 star-shaped flowers, adorned with six slender loose petals, a green center and bright yellow stamens. The flowers vary in color from pale lilac or white to deep purple or blue-violet. Borne on stout, willowy stems, they open sequentially from bottom to top for a long lasting display.
Known as the most flamboyant personalities within the world of lilies, they are characterized by their immense flowers, intense fragrance and rich colors. Exotic-looking, these Oriental hybrids are derived from species native to Japan. Blooming over a long period of time, from mid to late summer and even into fall for some varieties, their flowers are usually large and open, outward facing or pendant with striking patterns of spots. Most Oriental Lilies are in shades of white, pink and red, some with pretty yellow bands on their petals. Not as easy to grow as the Asiatic Lilies or Trumpet Lilies, they are still worth a try, just for the pleasure of possessing a magnificent plant in your own garden! Oriental Lilies prefer humus rich soil that is acidic. Give them plenty of water and mulch for a cool root run.
A member of the Amaryllis family, Lycoris (Spider Lilies) are striking bulbous perennials boasting showy umbels of funnel-shaped flowers on naked stems in late summer and early fall. Appearing almost magically since there is no foliage to indicate where their bulb has been planted, they pop out of the ground in a pretty array of bright colors and last about 2 weeks.
A member of the Hyacinth family, Ornithogalum (Star of Bethlehem) are bulbous perennials grown for their clusters of typically star-shaped, white flowers in spring or summer, depending on the species. They quickly form large clumps of grassy or strap-like leaves.
A member of the Lily family, Erythronium (Dog Tooth Violet) are charming bulbous perennials grown for their nodding, lily-shaped flowers adorned with gracefully reflexed petals in spring. Equally attractive is their foliage of elliptic leaves, often copiously marbled with purple-bronze.
Narcissus (Daffodils) are among the easiest bulbs to grow and regarded as some of the most valuable spring bulbs for the South. Long lived, they naturalize and multiply year after year. Versatile, they offer a fascinating array of flower forms, sizes, and colors. They also make gardening easy. Once planted, there is nothing left to do: these bulbs can stay right where they are and produce flowers year after year.
If you look for more than a beautiful drift of creamy or golden flowers, and wish to add another terrific dimension to your spring garden, plant fragrant Narcissus cultivars. While many daffodil bulbs are fragrant, most do not have a perfume powerful enough to enjoy unless you stick your nose directly into the bulb. The following daffodils are regarded as the most fragrant. Grow them close to where you sit in the garden, or along paths to savor their sweet fragrance as you pass by.
The following daffodils are recipients of both the Award of Garden Merit and the Wister Award, two highly coveted and prestigious awards. These super-daffodils have proven to be vigorous, sturdy and reliably perennial. They include many different flower shapes and bloom seasons. If you plant a few of each variety, you will get weeks and weeks of spring color every year! Some are delightfully fragrant. Grow them close to where you sit in the garden, or along paths to savor their sweet fragrance as you pass by.