As soon as a hint of autumn is in the air, like a squirrel, I get excited about digging holes in the garden. It’s a perfect time to get garden tasks accomplished and take steps that will bring joyful color next spring. Better yet, you could see blooms during the upcoming holidays and the cold days of February with a few choice bulbs. Bulbs are just the right thing to keep you motivated until the trees leaf out, the weather warms and the garden starts to sing.
I’m looking forward to the weekend when I’ll be emptying my window boxes and porch pots of annuals, and planting fall and winter plants like decorative cabbages, kale, pansies, some coral bells (heuchera), a few small evergreens, and smaller grasses like carex, and acorus. I will tuck some of my favorite bulbs into the boxes, so they come up between my cool season plants in spring. Daffodils, tulips and grape hyacinths to fill the spaces that my pansies and violas occupied, come spring. In this way I’ve layered 3 seasons of color into my fall container plantings.
All my smaller, empty pots will be collected and planted with bulbs. Grape hyacinths will mingle with small daffodils like Minnow, Eaton Song and Tete-a-Tete. Bright, bold tulips like Orange Emperor will occupy some pots and pale beauties like Angelique will occupy others. The pots will be tucked into the perimeter of my porch and brought indoors come February and March, to bloom indoors and give me a preview of spring when I most need it. My porch is a mere 28 square foot space and this seems like the most effective way to use that little space through winter. The bulbs will get the cold dormant period they need and I’ll trick them into thinking that it’s spring in a bright, warm, indoor location.
Some planting combinations I’m excited to try in the ground this fall are clumps of Ivory Queen white alliums between my caramel and purple hued coral bells, for an amazing contrast of color and texture. I’ll be planting Purple Rain tulips, because they are a gorgeous color I like the idea of planting a Prince tribute garden this year. Inspiration for the garden can come from anywhere. The tulips will bloom first, followed by the alliums giving my garden a different look and feel as the season progresses.
The beauty of tulips and daffodils is familiar to most of is and the choices for color, height and combinations are nearly endless. If you’re like me, you’ll feel like a kid in the candy store perusing our incredible selection. Alliums, flowering onions, have been rising in popularity, and if you have ever seen the great purple globe of Allium Gladiator you know why. Hicks has dozens of Allium varieties in stock, from the smaller, airy Drumstick allium that complements the perennial garden to the fabulous Pinball Wizard, which has tremendous Flower cluster, but it’s shorter stature makes it useful in places where Gladiator might be too tall. Visualize your spring garden with these colorful sparklers, and try some this year!
If you just can’t wait for late spring, consider adding some extra early blooming bulbs to your garden. A favorite bulb that shrugs at cold weather is the Snowdrop (Galanthus) which has delicate white blooms that will, in fact, bloom right through a patch of snow as early as February. Even if the weather is too horrid to go outside, a few may be cut to enjoy in a vase indoors. Another easy to grow bulb is Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa lucilllae) with clusters of delicate blooms in rich blues, pink and bicolors, blooming as early as March. Crocus is a well known favorite, adorning early spring gardens with cheery purples, yellows, oranges and even stripes. Some favorites of mine are Crocus Cream Beauty, which has a rich warmth that contrasts beautifully with evergreens and blue needled foliage, and Crocus Blue Moon, with a glowing blue bloom. Hicks carries a number of beautiful mixes so that you don’t have to choose, but can enjoy all the lovely colors sprinkled through your garden.
If you want an expertly designed garden with an extended bloom, pick up one of our many bulb blends. Hicks Nurseries carries a variety of color blends as well as variety blends that include different bulbs that bloom at different times in the season. New this year are our color themed elegance bags, which also make a lovely gift for the gardeners in your life.
Try some new colors and varieties, experiment with blooms indoors and out. Bulbs are versatile and easy for anyone to plant. Go outside, enjoy the sunny crisp air and plant some bulbs to reward yourself with these reliable bloomers that return year after year.