Spring bulbs

Too often, I’ve been stingy, and perhaps overly optimistic in planting ten of a bulb when twenty-five are more appropriate, or twenty-five when a hundred or two would be best. Each spring I note that a larger planting of crocus, or of Winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis, below) is in order, but when late summer ordering comes along other necessities intervene, or I am enticed to try ten of something entirely different.

A single puschkinia is too shaded to spread.

Despite these shortcomings, and a few disappointing patches, growth over a few decades has multiplied handfuls of narcissus, fritillaria, and snowdrops quite nicely. A small spot of Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa), in thin soil beneath shallow rooted maples, has transformed to a wide spreading carpet of blue. Curiously, seeds have spread up the slope as well as down to the damp, shaded areas where skunk cabbages flourish.

Bulbs of Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa) slowly spread down a slope between roots of swamp maples.

An unplanned mishmash of bulbs along the front walk has become a late winter delight, with Winter aconites and crocus interspersed within a patch of several varieties of vigorous snowdrops. In early April, fritillarias (below) join the crowd.

Snowdrops have spread from the few handfuls planted initially. With several varieties planed there are flowers from early February (or earlier) into March.

I take little credit for this success since each scattering of bulbs was planted with no recollection that the others existed. With top growth long gone and forgotten by early autumn planting, bulbs were planted side by side, somehow without disturbing the others.

Anemones (Anemone blanda, below) planted beneath Oakleaf hydrangeas in the side yard have survived deep shade and the aggressive spread of Robb’s euphorbia. In an instance of fortunate timing, in all but the mildest winters the euphorbia sheds its foliage to reveal the anemones’ blue flowers just before spring growth begins.

Grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum, below) are scattered through the garden, piggybacking along as shrubs were transplanted, I suppose.Though these colonize into dense clumps, I must make note to add more to this year’s bulb purchase.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. The English Gardener says:

    Will Spring ever come to Central Virginia?
    I look forward to my spring bulbs blooming as a sign that spring may finally be here . My daffodils that came out a couple of weeks ago have been exposed to the most extreme weather here at the base of the Shenandoah mountains.
    This past weekend my sweet little jonquils came out . But, would you believe Dave that it has been snowing on and off here all day!
    Your photos are a joy to look forward to as my other bulbs did not survive the full sun following the removal of the seven White Oak trees in my front garden.
    Thank you for providing small pleasures in this English-like climate.

    The English Gardener

    1. Dave says:

      Yes, cold and damp, not what the weather is supposed to be a few weeks into spring. It does look like it might be changing this week with seventies and an eighty in the forecast. It’s about time.

  2. Ruth says:

    Everything looks so beautiful Dave. What beautiful pictures! Thank you! 😀

  3. tonytomeo says:

    With some of those bulbs, you only need a few, and they make their own numbers. Grape hyacinth really gets going!

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