Selecting Spring Bulbs for Your Garden

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It's not too late to add spring bulbs to your garden! Here are some tips and design ideas to inspire and guide you this fall:

Snowdrops  

Snowdrops (above) may be naturalized in the lawn or planted close to the entryways to your home so that you can enjoy them in late winter. I planted mine in a bed of hellebores and hostas. They complement the hellebores in late winter, and their dying foliage is hidden by the hosta leaves unfurling in late spring. 

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Grape Hyacinths

Grape Hyacinths prefer full sun, but they can be naturalized in a woodland setting of deciduous trees where they will receive sun in the spring before the trees have leafed out. (Chanticleer Gardens)

Erythronium

Erythronium can be massed, planted with other spring bulbs, or with woodland wildflowers. 

Daffodils

Daffodils can be naturalized in the lawn, but the foliage must be allowed to die back naturally before cutting. A meadow area is best for this.

I interplant daffodils with daylilies. As the daylily foliage grows, it hides the yellowing daffodil leaves. I also moved my forsythia and PJM Rhododendron shrubs so that they back my spring garden, and echo the yellows, blues and violets of the perennials and bulbs.

Leucojum

The white dangling bells of Leucojum are beautiful complemented by the dainty blue flowers of Brunnera. (Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

Species Tulips

Species tulips bloom in April, and last many years in the garden. They look fabulous massed, and  interplanted with grape hyacinths. In my garden, they are backed by chives, which provide spring blooms in the garden and are a staple in my cooking. 

Alliums

Alliums complement the blues, violets and yellows of my spring garden. I love the giant 'Gladiator' and 'Globemaster' varieties. As a bonus, they are not eaten by voles or rabbits. Above, Alliums provide spring color to the daylily border at the back of my house.

Tulips

With so many colors and varieties of tulips available, selecting a few for your garden can be overwhelming. Thinking about companion plants can help.

Above, variegated red-twig dogwood is beautifully accented by white and purple tulips.

Maroon and white tulips are breathtaking with a 'Crimson Queen" Japanese maple. (Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

Deep purple tulips combine beautifully with Frittilaria Persica. The color is further enhanced by the addition of red-leaf lettuce. (Chanticleer Gardens)