The spring flowering bulb planting season is just around the corner. I always order my bulbs in August or September and wait to plant until the first couple of frosts in the fall. In USDA zone 6 Santa Fe, this usually in late October. I always remind folks that when you see the bulbs blooming in spring, it’s too late to get them planted. You have to plant in the fall to get color in the spring.
But what I like best about bulbs is the ease of their care. Few other groups of plants provide so much with so little effort. I always say I’m planting myself a “spring surprise.” Invariably, you forget what and where you planted your bulbs, so all through the spring, it‘s a continuous source of pleasure and delight to see all the bright colors and cheery combinations you’ve created. Spring flowering bulbs are outstanding companion plants to mix into your perennial flower beds. The bulbs provide the early season color and go dormant as the perennials are growing upwards and coming into bloom.
High Country Gardens specializes in perennials spring flowering bulbs. It seems we all are more time constrained than ever, so it makes sense to plant bulbs that come back year after year, more numerous and beautiful. Who has time to replant annual (bedding Tulips) every fall? For this reason, one of my favorite spring bulb groups would be the wildflower tulips. These smaller growers will amaze you with their huge flowers in many extravagant colors. They are strong naturalizers (increase in numbers during each growing season by propagating more bulbs) and are an essential source of early season nectar and pollen for hungry honey and native bees.
My favorites include ‘Shogun’, bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’, ‘Red Hunter’, ‘Little Princess’ and ‘Little Beauty’. Plant these into blue blooming groundcovers like Veronica liwanensis (Turkish Speedwell) and Veronica pectinata (Wooly Speedwell) to create a blooming carpet decorated with the tulips that push up through them. Easy and colorful!!
Text by David Salman