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Everyday Gardeners

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bulbs

3 Knock-Your-Spring-Socks-Off Bulb Combinations

If you’re looking for first-of-the-spring blooms, you have to plant bulbs. And you have to get them in the ground this fall! I understand how overwhelming it might be to decide which bulbs to pair together — there are so many options! I get it. Hopefully, I can help by sharing three of my favorite bulb combinations.

Fresh-Makers

When I see white and purple together in the garden, it seems so fresh, so crisp, and so refreshing, especially after a long winter. It’s probably my ultimate bulb-combo recommendation. There are several different varieties of daffodils and tulips, see which ones suit might your fancy in our plant encyclopedia: Daffodils,  Tulips.

Looking for more ways to pair white and purple? Get design ideas here.

Ground-Huggers

I’ve always thought the idea of planting bulbs in your lawn for a blanket of spring blooms was clever. Someday I’ll implement this technique with fragrant grape hyacinth and crocus. It really isn’t that hard. See how here.  Also, find out which grape hyacinths are our favorites and learn more about growing crocus.

Do you have bulbs planted in your lawn? I’d love to hear what varieties — and any tips you’ve learned.

Bold Partners

Sometimes you have the desire to make a statement, turn heads in the neighborhood, and that requires a bold combo. Crown imperial and parrot tulips top my list for a crowd-pleaser. Not only are they unique bloomers, their color really pops in the garden. Learn more about crown imperial and hybrid tulips from our plant encyclopedia.

 

Do you have a favorite bulb combination? Share with us!


3 Mystifying Tulips You Have to Have

I’m truly a plant geek at heart. I get giddy at the thought of new plant varieties. I get anxious at the end of an Iowa winter, awaiting the first sign of green. That’s why I plant spring-blooming bulbs. While it’s almost tedious to have to plant them in the fall (I’ve been tending to the garden all year now, I’m ready for a break!), I understand it’s a necessary chore to help cure my inevitable cabin fever come spring.

Recently, Longfield Gardens shared with me a series of tulips that have me completely mystified. A particular type of tulip that has me as giddy as a school girl in a candy store. A variety of tulip you have to have — above all other varieties. Are you intrigued yet?

{dramatic pause}

Have you heard of tulips that change color as their bloom matures?

{eeek!}

{happy dance}

Bashfully, I admit, I had not heard of such a thing! And naturally, I have to have them. They’re like a two-for-one special: Early blooms bring one color and as the flower ages, you get another!

Get your trowels ready folks, your garden deserves some color-changing tulips. Here is a brief summary of each tulip, but I encourage you to visit Longfield Gardens’ website to learn more.

Shirley

I’ve been crushing on Shirley for a long time now — and can’t wait to see her in all her glory next spring. Surely she’s a winner — right? :)

Shirley’s Details from Longfield Gardens:
A color-changing tulip that opens creamy white with lilac-purple stitching around the edge of each petal. As the blossoms mature, the color slowly spreads until the entire flower is laced with soft purple. Read more here.

Moulin Rouge

This tulip is so romantic, especially after seeing how Longfield Gardens displayed the blooms in a vase. Moulin Range would be the perfect pick-me-up.

Moulin Range’s Details from Longfield Gardens: 
This color-changing tulip puts on a new show every day. It opens creamy white with striking raspberry-pink accents. As the flower matures, the petals become more colorful, until they’re almost completely suffused with cherry pink, rose and crimson. Read more here.

Flaming Purissima

For a more delicate touch, Flaming Purissima belongs in your garden with its classy, white-to-pink blooms.

Flaming Purissima’s Details from Longfield Gardens: 
Welcome spring with this elegant, early-blooming tulip. Like all Emperor tulips, the flowers change day by day, opening ever wider as they mature. The colors also soften from pink to snowy white. An ideal companion for daffodils and hyacinths. 
Read more here.

So, which tulip is your favorite?
What? All of them?
Yeah, me too.
Better order now! I heard these beauties go fast!

 

Image credit: Longfield Gardens.


All About Amaryllis

That thick layer of snow outside hasn’t dampened my garden spirits one bit. On the contrary, after perusing the seed and plant catalogs that have been piling up in my mailbox, I’m inspired to fill my windowsills with blooming color. And to me, amaryllis look best right around now, when the days are slowly growing longer and the desire for a little outdoor action makes everybody a little loopy. The huge trumpet-shaped blossoms of amaryllis have an almost otherworldly appearance…and they are surprisingly easy to grow indoors. Amaryllis are tender bulbs with tropical origins; they have been bred by the Dutch to produce vigorous three-foot-tall stems that bear 10-inch blossoms in red, white, peach, green, salmon, striped, and even polka-dotted. There are even variegated (the foliage), miniature, and pointy-petaled cultivars.

Bulbs potted up shortly after the new year will be in full splendor well before the vernal equinox on March 20th (it takes about six to eight weeks after planting for the bulbs to actually bloom). Before I moved to Iowa, I had some three dozen amaryllis bulbs, collected over the years, that I’d overwinter in the basement of the brownstone where I lived in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. There’s no reason to toss out an amaryllis once it’s done blooming since they’re a cinch to get to bloom again the following year. After your amaryllis has finished blooming, treat the strap-like foliage just like any other houseplant until it is warm enough to move out to the garden for the summer. Come September, move them into a cool, dark spot and allow them to dry up and drop their leaves. Then, a couple of months before you want blooms on your windowsill, start the indoor forcing process all over again (I usually repot by bulbs with fresh potting soil and time-release fertilizer for extra oomph). I also like to provide the stalks with added support by tying them to a stake; this helps them hold their heavy heads—usually three to four massive flowers each—upright.

Last fall, our friends at Longfield Gardens sent me a selection of their amaryllis bulbs to add to my personal collection. They sent me ‘Elvas’, and ‘Nymph’, and ‘Vera’, and ‘Magic Green’. That’s ‘Elvas’ and ‘Nymph’ blooming their heads off in my breakfast nook this morning. ‘Elvas’ has broad white petals with painterly, cardinal-red brushstrokes. ‘Nymph’ is a gorgeous double amaryllis with layers of glistening white petals that feature delicate traceries of red. The center radiates a soft, lemon-lime glow. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to that?


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