One of the best things about a spring bulb garden is the surprise factor. When I plant bulbs in the fall, I usually have a plan as to color combinations and placement. But by the time spring arrives, it’s hard to remember which varieties I planted and where I put them. Sound familiar?
Not that it really matters. After a long winter, I am delighted with whatever flowers rise to greet me!
Spring came late this year, so I really appreciated having snowdrops around. They were in bloom for weeks before the first daffodils came up. Chionodoxa usually flowers right after the snowdrops, and I always look forward to their sky blue flowers. But we had a skunk hanging around this spring and it dug up the entire area where the chionodoxa had naturalized. It was probably hunting for grubs, but must have eaten the bulbs, too. Instead of hundreds of flowers, I had no more than a dozen. Grrr.
This was the best daffodil year in memory. Everyone was talking about it. The prior year, a hard freeze killed most of the daffodil buds, so they must have been extra eager to bloom. The weather helped, too. It was cool and damp right through mid-May. Hyacinths also benefited from that cool weather and lasted far longer than usual.
In our New Jersey trial garden, the tulip season went by in a blink. Ten days of bright sun and unseasonably warm temperatures (in the 90’s) brought everything into bloom at once. This weather made spring photography even more of a challenge than usual. With 100 varieties in bloom all at once, we worked frantically to capture as many as we could.
Further north in New England we had the opposite issue. Cold, wet soil. Exactly what tulip bulbs hate. In my perennial beds, some bulbs never came up. Others grew a few inches and then seemed to melt before they could bloom.
Yet in areas where the soil was lighter and the drainage was better, like in the raised bed shown below, the tulips looked great. Plus, with all that cool, wet weather they lasted for weeks!
I love seeing flower bulbs return each spring, like long lost friends. But I also love trying new varieties. A couple new-to-me favorites from this season were: Hyacinth City of Haarlem, Tulip Exotic Emperor and a combination of double tulip Monte Orange with long-time favorite, Princess Irene.
While memories of your own spring bulb garden are still fresh, would you please take a minute to share a couple reviews? We (and other gardeners) would love to know which varieties you liked best. Reviews are variety-specific, so simply find the variety you want to review, scroll down and click the “submit a review” button on the left side of the page.
If there are any spring-flowering bulbs you’d like us to reserve for you, consider pre-ordering now. It’s a good way to make sure you don’t forget to order them in the fall. We still have some new varieties and new collections to add in mid-July, so expect an announcement about that in your inbox. Until then, enjoy your June garden!