Fall blooming bulbs; the stunning Sternbergia lutea!
by David Salman
This Mediterranean native bulb commonly known as Lily of the Field or Winter Daffodil provides a brief but fabulous bit of color in the fall xeriscape. The large, deep yellow, six petaled flowers appear suddenly in late September here in Santa Fe's high elevation, short season Zone 6 climate. (They bloom later in warmer areas.) The flowers illuminate their planting area for a couple of weeks before retiring for the season. But don't forget Sternbergia's ornamental evergreen foliage. The deep green, strap-like leaves hold their color right through the winter adding a startling element of green to the winter garden.
Sternbergia is a xeric species native to the dry hills and mountains surrounding the northern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It prefers being planted in a planting bed with other xeric plants so it doesn't get too much summer water. I recommend planting it into xeric groundcovers or low growing perennials like Dwarf Silver Leaf Sage (Salvia daghestanica, as seen in the photo). The Salvia's silver foliage provides a dramatic backdrop to the bright flower and very green foliage. Silver groundcovers like Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium) and Patridge Feather (Tanacetum niveum ssp. amani) are complementary companions for Sternbergia.
‘Mojito’ Elephant Ear (Colocasia esculenta) strikes a stunning profile with bold speckled foliage. Every leaf produces its own unique pattern, reaching up to two feet long. Strong stems lift the foliage skyward before arching gracefully outward for a fountain-like appearance. Perfect for creating privacy and adding lush foliage to outdoor spaces, container gardens, or flower beds. Elephant ears also make great houseplants!
Bold, blue, and beautiful, the round clusters of Blue Agapanthus blossoms strike both colorful and architectural notes in the garden. The dense umbellate flower clusters bloom in mid-summer, held on long stems that rise from an ever-growing clump of strong, strappy foliage. Enjoy watching pollinators and hummingbirds visit these sky-blue blooms, followed by decorative seed heads form once the individual blooms have faded. Blue Agapanthus prefers full sun but loves a bit of shelter from hot afternoon rays. Well-draining soils a must.
There is a breathtaking elegance to ‘Salmon Tecolote®’ Ranunculus that will effortlessly elevate a vase, or a container, or a garden bed. Plants hold their silken, multi-petaled blossoms above lacy, sun-loving foliage in late spring. This soft peachy flower is a florist favorite, both for its elegant flowers and strong, straight stems. Lift tubers in cold climates and store in a frost-free location. (Ranunculus)
Our Rainforest Retreat Bulb Collection offers elegant blooms and dramatic foliage for a lush oasis in your home or outdoor space. Broad, striking Elephant Ears layer over a variety of patterned red, white, and green Caladium. Calla Lily adds speckled leaves and graceful white flowers. Plant in gardens or containers indoors or out – wherever you want to enjoy a relaxing escape. Collection of 7 bulbs.