Send Winter Packing With These Harbingers of Spring
For people who love flowers, winter is always much too long, and spring never comes soon enough. Savvy gardeners know that spring-flowering bulbs – especially the extra-early ones -- can be life savers. They start flowering months before most perennials, shrubs and trees are ready to wake up.
Snowdrops are usually the very first bulbs to emerge. Cold weather doesn’t bother them. Even if the ground is frozen, these hardy bulbs manage to push their way up to greet the sun. You need to pay close attention, because snowdrops will often begin blooming before you think to look for them. The flowers flutter on whisper-thin stems and lime-green markings make each one a work of art.
Next to bloom are crocuses. Snow crocuses open first, with their delicate, tissue-paper flowers in soft hues like lavender and creamy yellow. Giant crocuses stand an inch or two taller and their larger flowers come in brighter colors: purple, yellow, white and the distinctive purple/white striped variety called Pickwick.
Early spring bulbs provide some of the garden’s most beautiful blues. Though Chionodoxa comes in white and pink as well as blue, this bulb is best known for is stunning sky-blue flowers. Ants love gathering the seeds, so you may find new plants popping up almost anywhere in your yard. Chionodoxa are also known as glory-of-the-snow.
If you have a rock garden, gravely area, or space beside a walkway that’s very well drained, consider planting Iris reticulata. These miniature, extra-early iris stand just a few inches high. They come in several colors and feature beautiful markings. One of the most popular is a brilliant cobalt blue variety named Harmony.
Scilla siberica, also known as spring beauty, is another early-bloomer with heavenly blue flowers. Scilla bulbs are small and inexpensive, so you can plant lots. They are excellent companions for every other type of bulb or perennial and great for planting beneath shrubs or shade trees. Over time the bulbs will multiply and become a carpet of blue.
Ever thought about planting bulbs in your lawn? Chionodoxa, scilla siberica and crocus can hold their own in a lawn, and the foliage fades away just a few weeks after they finish blooming.
Winter-weary gardeners aren’t the only ones who are thrilled to see the first flowers of spring. It’s incredible how little time it takes for word to get around. These early spring flowers will soon be visited by bees of all shapes and sizes, eager for a taste of the year’s first pollen and nectar.
Spring blooming bulbs may be pre-ordered starting in June, and will be delivered in time for planting between September and December. In addition to the early bulbs shown above, Longfield Gardens also offers tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, alliums and many other easy and beautiful bulbs for spring.