Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring Minor Bulbs

This week my gardening column is on spring flowering minor bulbs and to help hurry spring along, I'm sharing some favourites from my garden.
Planted in early autumn, masses of colourful spring flowering bulbs can present a welcome respite after the dreariness of winter. Besides the larger and popular bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, there are many smaller varieties considered as minor bulbs that are just as nice. Many will multiply by seed or bulblets to increase their numbers each year which makes them perfect to naturalize in lawns, gardens or in a woodland setting.

Tulipa tarda is one of the low-growing species tulips. It has starry blooms of vibrant yellow with white tips. Reaching 10-12 cm high, it naturalizes quickly to form large, tight clumps of blooms.  Shown here is  a cultivar with pink and purple, 'Little Beauty'.

Iris reticulata is an early blooming petite iris at only 10 cm tall which often can be seen with snow still on the ground.

Fritillaria meleagris multiplies very slowly but has such beatiful flowers.  It's known as 'Snake's Head' because of the checkered petals resembling the skin on a snake.  Unfortunately it is affected by the red lily beetle and I've had to be quite diligent in hand picking them.

Crocus is another minor bulb and when they're seen pushing through the snow, spring isn't fall off.


  1. Oh my! Beautiful!
    I will be happy when our snow is gone. We've had way too much in the southeastern USA this year!

  2. I saw my first crocuses of the year today on my way to the vet. They're not yet open but soon will be. Thus far nothing in my garden looks very Spring-like though the catkins on the hazels are fattening.

  3. Ooooh, you make me ache for spring. I see a few archived posts in your sidebar that I want to come back to check out when I have a few extra minutes. I'll just bet you have some gorgeous gardens. ~karen

  4. I would love to have these flowers in my garden. Gorgeous, colorful, and beautiful blooms!


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