New Flowers for Your Spring Garden
Part of the fun of gardening is trying new things. We are big fans of the classic, time-tested bulb varieties, but get just as excited as everyone else about growing something new. Here are some of the new bulbs that we will be planting in our gardens this fall.
Dreamy Double Tulips
Charming Beauty is a lovely, double-late tulip that’s the color of a ripe peach. If you like lush and romantic flowers, you need to grow this tulip. Last spring it was one of my favorites. I only planted a couple bulbs and couldn’t bear to cut any of the stems, but am sure Charming Beauty looks gorgeous in a vase. Double-late tulips bloom at the end of the tulip season – just before the first peonies. They have a completely different personality from regular single tulips and if you haven’t grown them before, I encourage you to give them a try!
Double Shirley is a new double-late tulip, first introduced at Keukenhof in 2012. The frilly white flowers are stippled with lilac-blue, and this coloration gradually deepens and spreads across the petals as the blossoms mature. If you’re a fan of viridiflora tulips, you’ll love the subtle lime green accents on the outer petals. Double Shirley looks fabulous planted with other double late tulip varieties such as Mount Tacoma and Blue Spectacle. Or mix up the flower styles by combining it with single late tulips such as Violet Beauty, Queen of Night or Maureen.
A New and Improved Princess Irene
The distinctive heirloom tulip known as Princess Irene — or Prinses Irene — has orange petals with maroon flares. The flowers have a citrusy fragrance and a compact habit that makes them excellent for containers as well as gardens. Princess Irene was introduced in 1949, and in recent years the strain has become less vigorous. This year we are replacing it with Hermitage, a sport of the original variety that has larger flowers and slightly more pronounced markings. Princess Irene is a variety I plant every year, so I’ll definitely be giving this one a try.
Miniature Cutting Gardens Made Easy
If you have a vegetable garden, it is probably pretty empty from November to April. Why not fill some of that empty space with tulips? I’ve been doing it for a couple years now and am totally sold on the idea. The loose, well-drained soil in my vegetable garden is exactly the kind of soil tulips like. Since there’s plenty of room and the beds are ready to go, I’m able to plant 200 bulbs in about a half hour. With six or eight different varieties, I get to enjoy more than a month of beautiful spring color. I treat the bulbs as annuals, so when they finish blooming I simply pull them out. This also means I’m free to cut and give away as many stems as I want.
With this miniature cutting garden in mind, Longfield Gardens is now offering several color-coordinated tulip collections that are value-priced at 100 bulbs for $70 or less. They include a combination of early and late season varieties, so you’re sure to get weeks of flowers. Choose from Double Bright Tulip Collection, Double Pastel Tulip Collection, Single Bright Tulip Collection, Single Pastel Tulip Collection and Single Dramatic Tulip Collection. You’ll find these and more exclusive collections HERE.
More Alliums Please!
I wouldn’t call myself an allium collector, but I do grow a lot of them. And I’m happy to announce that we are expanding our allium assortment to include three of my favorites. Treat yourself to one (or all three!) of these uncommon and totally unique spring-blooming bulbs.
Allium bulgaricum also goes by the Latin name Nectaroscordum siculum and the adorable common name Sicilian honey garlic. This bulb is a wild thing with lots of personality. The stems can be upright or somewhat lax, so give them a spot where they’ll be free to express themselves. And oh, the flowers! Each stem is topped with a cluster of dangling, blue-green bells with cream and burgundy interiors. Bloom time is late spring through early summer. They’re reliably perennial, too.
Allium karataviense is another extraordinary allium. Its dwarf habit (8” tall) makes it ideal for rock gardens or planting along a walkway. The show begins with a rosette of decorative foliage: wide, blue-green leaves, edged in hot pink. Within a week or so, a globe of silvery-pink flowers will emerge from the center of each rosette. Bloom time is late spring and the bulbs are reliably perennial as long as there’s good drainage.
Allium schubertii may be the most impressive of the bunch. The plants aren’t very tall ((12 to 18”) but the flowers measure more than a foot across! Schubertii displays its florets on short, long and medium length stems and this makes the globes look like a fireworks display. After the flowers fade, the seed heads continue to be an attraction. You can also cut and dry them to enjoy indoors.
Deer-Proof Color for Woodlands and Shady Gardens
By popular demand, we have added a beautiful periwinkle-blue selection of Hyacinthoides hispanica, also known as Scilla campanulata, Spanish bluebells and woodland hyacinths. The plants stand 12-18” tall and the flower stalks display a whorl of fluted bells. They are excellent naturalizers and the bulbs will gradually multiply to cover large areas with a haze of blue.
Ordering spring-blooming bulbs can sometimes be a little overwhelming. After all, we offer more than 100 different tulip varieties! To help you find your way, we have added a new Shop by Color category and have expanded our always-popular Collections. You may also be interested in reading How to Plan a Spring Bulb Garden.