Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Bulbs: Plant into Fall, Spring into Color

When we choose which spring-blooming bulbs to bring into stock, we choose the flowers that have performed the best year after year here in Ulster county. We have the benefit of field-testing new varieties and watching some varieties naturalize and bloom again and again for the past twenty years. Here are just a few of our favorites:

For those of you with gardens in the middle of deer territory, not to fear, we have a wide assortment of deer resistant bulbs. One of the most under-used (but awesome) deer resistant bulbs is Allium ‘Ivory Queen.’ Every May when they bloom at the nursery, everyone asks, What’s that plant? We planted three bulbs in this spot three years ago in full sun, and every year they have multiplied and the foliage and flowers have gotten bigger. Read more about Allium 'Ivory Queen'.

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’, ‘Gladiator’, and ‘Globe Master’ stand as tall as their masculine names imply. Plant in groups of five or seven and the spherical clusters of blooms will be a focal point in your garden late spring to early summer.

Fritillaria persica (also deer resistant!) is very sculptural with tufts of green pineapple-like leaves on top of the large (2’ to 4’ tall) hanging bell-shaped flowers. A stunning companion to white tulips, hellebore or the coveted, greenish-white Fritillaria persica ‘Ivory Bells.’

Another deer resistant beauty, Camassia 'caerulea' which put up lovely spikes of lavender blue flowers. Ideal for heavy clay to loamy soils! Camassia can tolerate full sun to part shade and can grow pond side or stream side. The flowers are very long lasting making them ideal for cut flowers to be used in flower arrangements. Camassia 'Semiplena' produces tall spikes of large, white, semi-double flowers.

Both naturalizing and deer resistant, Daffodils are the reliable gold standard. Diminutive varieties like Tete a tete and Jet Fire can planted at the front of beds while taller varieties like Dutch Master and Hawera can be used throughout your perennial border. And not all Daffodils are gold in color, white, peach and and soft pink are also available.

Banja Luka is a wonderful tulip for cutting. The flower is incredibly, enchantingly big. Last year Victoria was stunned when the blooms opened even bigger as they sat in a vase on her desk. If you like cutting from your garden, you will love this tulip. Fantasy, Green Wave and Texas Gold are all exotic feather-edged, multi-colored tulips that will dress up your garden or your table. Tulips, unfortunately need to be protected from critters (see sidebar) and deer, so if you don’t have a fence you will have to diligently spray deer repellent.

Not all bulbs bloom at the same time, so you can choose a variety and have a constantly blooming show of bulbs from early spring to early summer. Stop by the nursery and we’ll help you plan your spring blooms.