Best Spring Bulb Displays in the Northeast

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Ready to welcome spring after a long Northeast winter? Nothing lifts the spirit like a stroll among masses of daffodils, tulips and other spring bulbs. Here’s my list of wonderful spring bulb displays to enjoy this year.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Mid-April to late May, Boylston, MA

Enjoy a changing bulb display at Tower Hill Botanic garden, beginning with Reticulated Iris and Hyacinths in mid-April, fields of 25,000 daffodils in late April to early May, and gorgeous tulip displays in mid to late May. Daffodils Day May 4-5. towerhillbg.org

Tower hill Botanic Garden

Tower hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

April 26-28, Nantucket, MA

Nantucket’s annual daffodil celebration includes the Nantucket Daffodil Flower Show, a window decorating contest, antique car parade, tours, and art shows. Come in costume to the Daffy Hat Contest and children’s parade. daffodilfestival.com

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Late April–late May, Boothbay, ME

Coastal Maine’s display gardens feature thousands of tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs from late April to late May in one of New England’s premier public gardens. mainegardens.org

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Blithewold Daffodil Days

Blithewold Daffodil Days

Blithewold Daffodil Days

April through Mid-May, Bristol, RI

The Bosquet, a cultivated woodland, features more than 50,000 daffodils at Blithewold Mansion Gardens and Arboretum. You will also see many woodland wildflowers in bloom.  blithewold.org

Heritage Museums & Gardens

Heritage Museums & Gardens

Heritage Museums & Gardens

Mid April–mid May, Sandwich, MA

A spectacular Bulb River of 35,000 grape hyacinths highlighted with 1,500 white daffodils flows on the grounds of Heritage Museums & Gardens in spring. The grape hyacinths begin to open in mid April and reach their peak around Mother’s Day. heritagemuseumsandgardens.org

Wicked Tulips (photo by Beth Reis)

Wicked Tulips (photo by Beth Reis)

Wicked Tulips Flower Farm

Late April–mid May, Johnston, RI

Wicked Tulips has the largest u-pick tulip field in New England, with 600,000 early, mid, and late blooming tulips. Enjoy the fields of color, and bring home a fresh hand-picked bouquet. The early tulips begin blooming in late April, followed by waves of later blooming tulips until Mother’s Day. The website Bloom Report provides important updates and allows you to see what is in bloom. Advance tickets are required and must be purchased online. wickedtulips.com

Newport Daffodil Days

Newport Daffodil Days

Newport Daffodil Days Festival

April 13–21, Newport, RI

Now in its 6th year, the Newport Daffodil Festival has beautified the city with more than 1 million daffodils. The week-long celebration includes a garden party, classic car parade, concerts, tours, dog parade and much more. Don’t miss the display of 11,000 daffodils of 29 varieties and the Green Animals Topiary Garden. newportdaffydays.com

Elizabeth Park

Elizabeth Park

Elizabeth Park

Mid-April–mid May, Hartford, CT

Daffodils in mid-April give way to a beautiful display of 11,000 tulips that peak on Mother’s Day. elizabethparkct.org

Colorblends

Colorblends

ColorBlends House and Spring Garden

April 1–May 12, Bridgeport, CT

 Stroll through an evolving display of color as snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, tulips and other spring-flowering bulbs come into bloom at the ColorBlends House and Spring Garden. Located in Bridgeport’s  Stratfield Historic Distric, the 1903 Colonial Revival  mansion is surrounded by an intimate garden designed by distinguished Dutch  garden designer Jacqueline van der Kloet for Colorblends Wholesale Flowerbulbs..colorblendsspringgarden.com

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens

Late April–mid May

Enjoy planting of early bulbs, daffodils and tulips blooming in 93-acres of formal gardens and natural habitats. bartlettarboretum.org

Meriden Daffodil Days

Meriden Daffodil Days

Meriden Daffodil Festival

April 27 & 28, Meriden, CT

One of Connecticut’s favorite celebrations, the Meriden Daffodil Festival features a juried craft fair, rides and food vendors, and an amazing fireworks show, all set against a spectacular display of 600,000 daffodils. daffodilfest.com

New York Botanic Garden

New York Botanic Garden

New York Botanic Garden

April–May, Bronx, NY

Explore the Rock Garden for tiny species daffodils, and Daffodil Valley, where the Murray Liasson Narcissus Collection is located. See the latest hybrids on the Daylily/Daffodil Walk, and antique cultivars planted in a seal of yellow and white on Daffodil Hill. nybg.org/garden

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Mid April, Summit, NJ

Celebrate spring with a "host of golden daffodils," as poet William Wordsworth wrote, at Reeves-Reed Arboretum and enjoy one of the largest daffodil collections in New Jersey. The collection, planted in the Arboretum's glacially carved 'kettle' or bowl, was started in the early 1900s by the original owners of the property. Today the collection boasts more than 50,000 bulbs and the annual Daffodil Day brings visitors from all over the tri-state area. Daffodil Day is April 14, 2019. reeves-reedarboretum.org

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Deep Cut Gardens

Deep Cut Gardens

Deep Cut Gardens

Mid-April–mid May, Middletown, NJ

Beautiful tulip and daffodil blooms are on display in this 54 acre formal garden. monmouthcountyparks.com

Deep Cut Gardens

Deep Cut Gardens

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Frelinhuysen Arboretum

Mid April-mid May, Morris Township, NJ

The formal gardens at Frelinghuysen Arboretum feature gorgeous bedding displays of tulips. arboretumfriends.org

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Chanticleer

Chanticleer

Chanticleer

Early April to mid-May

Chanticleer is ablaze with spring bulbs from species tulips, miniature daffodils and grape hyacinths on the hillside, to formal bedding of tulips and daffodils around the mansion. A sloping lawn, punctuated by flowering shade trees, features 80,000 white or pale yellow narcissus running in two rivers to the bottom. Virginia bluebells, trilliums, grape hyacinths and camassias create gorgeous displays in the woodlands. chanticleergarden.org

Chanticleer

Chanticleer

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Early April to early May, Kennett Square, PA

Early spring bulbs like glory-of-the-snow, winter-aconite, and crocus first herald the season’s arrival, with gorgeous tulips, wisteria, and flowering trees creating a lush spring tapestry of color, fragrance, and warmth. longwoodgardens.org

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens

Selecting Spring Bulbs for Your Garden

snowdrops.jpg

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. 

grape-hyacinths.jpg

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)