Exploring the World Of Small Bulbs

Have you ever been curious about what many of the odd bulbs are in the bulb catalogs? 

Did you ever try to get a few new ones each year?

Exploring Small BulbsPin

It’s fun if you can just get up your nerve to order those things you have never seen. 

Order several different species and varieties of each genus.

Trying Different Small Bulb Species And Varieties

Take the onions or alliums. A few may be uninteresting, but most of them will be very nice.

Try Allium Moly with its yellow flowers, albopilosum with its huge heads of pink, or the unusual narcissi o lorum with its hanging pink flowers.

Crocus offers a long season of bloom. Besides the common large Dutch crocus, try some species such as ancyrensis, an early yellow, and even earlier Tomasinianus and its varieties.

Sieberi is similar and equally early. Another good early yellow is susianus. And instead of getting mixed Dutch crocus, try some of the named varieties.

The bulbous irises offer great variety. Danfordiae is early yellow, reticulata early purple, and the English, Spanish and Dutch irises give their bit in June.

The fritillaries are fascinating. The guinea hen, meleagris, always attracts attention with its purplish or white checkered bells. And they will stay with you for years.

If you do not mind the odor, the old-fashioned crown imperial is really showy. It will stay in some gardens but has never liked mine.

Hyacinth Bulbs

What pleasure the hyacinths give! If you hesitate at the price of the top size, buy the bedding size, either by varieties or mixed as I do.

The flowers are not quite as large but just as fragrant.

The less known fairy hyacinth ‘Borah’ is small but very free flowering.

Try ‘Rosalie’ and ‘Vanguard,’ which are also miniatures

 For years we have enjoyed Hyacinthus amethystinus in our place. No question about it staying with you.

Good Flowering Squills

Although the star of Bethlehem is a nasty weed that takes over, its sister, Ornithogalum nutans, is a lovely white flowering bulb.

The squills are worth knowing better. The early blue, siberica, is fairly common. 

Occasionally we see the white form of it. The late flowering squills should be in every garden.

Scala campanulata, the English squill or wood hyacinth, is a must. They bloom at the same time as Darwin tulips.

The colors are white, pink, and lavender blue. They multiply and stay with you.

 That is more than many of us can say of the May flowering tulips.

Like many other spring bulbs, squills can be planted under masses of ground covers such as English ivy, Japanese spurge, and periwinkle.

Other Spring Flowering Bulbs

Other spring flowering bulbs you should try include the following:

  • Chionodoxa
  • The many grape hyacinths
  • Oxalis, anemones
  • Sternbergia
  • Winter aconite
  • Leucojum
  • Mills or triteleia

Writing Labels For Identification

It is not necessary to get quantities. The biggest job is writing the labels or making a garden plan so you can figure out what each one is.

Too many homeowners are content to call an unknown just “hedge” or “shrub” or “evergreen.”

Why garden if we do not know the names of the plants we are growing?

Proper Planting And Maintenance Practices

Spider mites, or red spiders, as we used to call them, are still multiplying on primroses, arbor-vitae, and other plants.

Malathion or aramite are probably the easiest miticides to obtain, either alone or mixed in an all-purpose mixture.

Get the dust or spray on the underside of the leaves.

You can tell they are there by the tell-tale tannish grayish color of the leaves.

Repeat the application in 10 days for the babies hatched from eggs the chemical did not kill.

Since September is a good time to plant hardy flowers, better order the new ones now for delivery then.

Prepare the soil this month by working in plenty of organic matter and fertilizer.

If you can plant without a trowel, just digging with your hands, that is good soil.