Spring Wouldn’t Be Complete Without Small Flowered Bulbs

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The delightful, unpretentious charm of the small-flowered bulbs is the first attraction of the garden year. Without them, spring would be like a play without the first act. 


Most of these little gems demand nothing more than to be planted in soil reasonably suited to their needs and then left alone. The catalog will be found beside the four pictured below in any bulb.

Leucojum Vernum

Right: The spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, blooms in the early spring and has considerably larger, more expanded flowers than the later blooming and more common summer snowflake, L. aestivum. 

Also, its stems are shorter and, it would seem, more in keeping with the miniature blooms, being only 6” or 8” inches tall. 

The bell-shaped flowers are pure white, with a spot of brilliant light green toward the tip of each petal. 

The bulbs should be planted about 3” inches deep in fairly good, well-drained soil and can then be left undisturbed for years.

Tulips Bifiora and Its Variety

Tulips bifiora and its variety turkestanica, left, have attractive little star-like flowers less than 2” inches across and borne two to five to the stem, usually 6” to 8” inches tall. 

They bloom well ahead of the larger garden tulips and often set plenty of seed. 

They should have good drainage and, as with most tulip species, it is safest to plant them deep, not less than 6” inches and as much as 10” inches if the soil is light. 

These and other small tulip species are admirably suited to rock garden culture.

Narcissus Bulbocodium Monophyllus

Narcissus bulbocodium monophyllus, the white hoop-petticoat daffodil, right, is perhaps even more distinctive than the yellow N. b. conspicuus. 

The pure white flowers consist of tiny, ruffled, petticoat-like trumpets at the back, which are little perianths shaped like sharp-pointed stars. 

The blooms stand 3” to 6” inches high and are well poised on the stems; the foliage is grassy or reed-like. This narcissus should be planted 3” or 4” inches deep in light soil and never fertilized.

Crocus Tomasinianus

Left: Crocus tomasinianus is perhaps the best of all for naturalizing since it is permanent and will multiply steadily yearly without any attention whatever. 

Its flowers are usually light lavender but are variable to some extent. Like most croci, it somehow looks most at home if planted in “drifts” in a woodsy setting. 

(You needn’t plant the bulbs closely, however, because, in a few years, they will have increased several times.) 

The only locations to avoid are wet spots and lawns that must be cut before the crocus foliage has died down.

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