Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Extra Early Spring Bulbs

I can never wait for things to get rolling in spring, so it's nice to have an assortment of early-blooming beauties scattered about here and there. The power of these tiny plants far outweighs their size to the gardener's winter-starved soul. These are the bulbs that bloom the earliest in my garden (usually late March to early April). Most of them have gone over already this year (with the exception of puschkinia, which lasts an amazing long time), so here is a little reminiscence of the stars of the early garden:
  • Galanthus elwesii (Giant Snowdrop) - of course the earliest of them all. It is small and white - not likely to attract your attention from across the street, but the appearance of something green and growing is so appreciated after months of snow and ice.

Galanthus elwesii (Giant Snowdrop)

  • Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite) - like snowdrops, these miraculously start blooming before you've even had a chance to realize the ground is no longer frozen. They are somewhat fussy about situation and supposedly prefer a moist, humusy site. Probably less than half of these that I've ever planted actually came up, but the extra trouble is well worth it.
Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite)

  • Puschkinia libanotica (Striped Squill) - these usually bloom for me soon after snowdrops. They are of the palest china blue imaginable - cool, delicate, and refreshing. There is also a white form available.

Puschkinia libanotica (Striped Squill)

  • Iris reticulata - another ultra early bloomer, which prefers very sharp drainage. These come in many fabulous shades of blue, as well as some yellow. They are finicky and do not like me too well - of the many I have planted only a few have been successful. Site selection appears to be crucial. A gardener must be persistent in the quest for beauty!

Iris reticulata 'Clairette'

  • Crocus - the teeny-weeny species crocus (such as crocus tommasinianus, crocus sieberi) bloom earlier than the larger Dutch crocus (crocus vernus), but both are quite early - not long after snowdrops. These provide the best source of truly eye-ripping bright color for early spring: searing yellow, deep purple, and intense violet. Annoyingly, they both close they their flowers on cloudy days, and love to get eaten by squirrels. What can you do.

Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'

  • Scilla siberica (Siberian Squill) - these usually bloom for me slightly later than, but overlapping with, the previous bulbs. I am a great admirer of blue and the dark blue cultivar of these makes my eyes fairly water with delight. There are a variety of species though, some of which are lighter blue, white, or pink.

Scilla siberica 'Spring Beauty'

  • Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow) - these have larger flowers than scilla, and bloom at about the same time. The colors are pastel baby blue, pink, and white.

Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow) 'Pink Giant' with barberry

  • Narcissus (Daffodils) - the ones marked "very early," like 'February Gold' or 'Tete-a-Tete', bloom together with the other early bulbs. They range from tiny to adorable - you have to wait until a bit later to get the big honking ones.
Narcissus (Daffodil) 'Tete-a-Tete'


  1. Rebecca, I love all your vernal flowers very much, especially pushkinia and Chionodoxa, I have it but blue variety,
    I'm glad the spring really came in your garden!

  2. Noce to see your collection of early spring flowers, they are all lovely :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...