A Beautiful Year for Spring Bulbs

Maybe it’s because it has not warmed up too fast, or we had moisture at the right times (though parts of Minnesota are technically in a drought), 2015 has been a good year for bulbs in my garden.

Mixed crocus

Over the past couple of years, I’ve planted more bulbs in the fall for spring bloom, including lots of crocus*, Siberian squill in the yard and garden beds, new big daffodils*, more tulips and cute, little Chiondoxa (glory of the snow). For later bloom, I have two kinds of allium as well. So far, the early spring bulbs are blooing except the tulips, which will be colorful until mid-May or beyond.

First tulips in bloom.
First tulips in bloom.

Bulbs brighten up the early spring landscape and are a great addition to northern gardens. Since we often aren’t sure when spring will occur in Minnesota or how long it will last, bulbs guarantee a bit of color before that explosion of spring flowering trees and early perennials that occurs in May.

glory of the snow
Glory of the Snow

They are easy to plant and take care of, too. In early October, I dig a big hole to place large groups of bulbs. The larger groups have more impact in the landscape and placing them in one hole is easier than digging individual holes for each bulb. I give them a little fertilizer, but otherwise just leave them alone and wait for spring. I’ve been fortunate that the many critters we have around our house have not gone after my bulbs. My neighbors have had that happen and switched to mostly daffodils, which for some reason the little monsters don’t like.

How are your bulbs looking this year?

I’m pretty sure these were test plants sent to me at no charge from Longfield Gardens. (I lost the paperwork between October and now.) The bulbs are fantastic.

Plant Crocus for Early Bees

It was so exciting to see a trio of bees really working over the crocus in my front yard this afternoon. Other bees were gathering pollen from my neighbor’s patch of crocus. If you blow up the more horizontal picture below, you can see the bee’s back covered in pollen.

Crocus are one of the best bulbs to plant in the North because they bloom early and provide food for bees when very little else is around.

First Blooms

Iris reticulata

The warm temperatures we had yesterday brought out kids, walkers, bicyclists, gardeners–and a few blooms, too.

I found two things blooming in my garden yesterday. The tiny Iris reticulata is one of the first irises to bloom. Its only about 4 inches tall, bloom and all, but finding it under dried leaves and other vestiges of winter is a joy. Out front, my crocus suddenly popped up. (My neighbors have been up for a week or so.) They were wide open and blooming yesterday, but closed up against the cold and wind today. You can’t blame them for that.

I also detected the foliage, but no blooms yet, for the squill that is often one of the first signs of spring in my yard. It usually blooms about the first week of April, though I suspect it may come a bit later this year. For reference, I blogged about the iris on March 25, 2010 — so we are definitely behind last year.

What’s blooming in your garden?