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5 Quick Fixes: Essential Garden Bulbs

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5 Quick Fixes: Essential Garden Bulbs

September 18, 2013

There’s more to life than tulips and daffodils. When planning next year’s bulb garden, find a spot to tuck in a clump or two of our five hardworking favorites:

In what growing zone is your garden? (If you don’t know, enter your zip code at USDA Hardiness Zone Map to find out.)

Allium Globemaster

Photograph by Kim Carpenter via Flickr.
Above: Photograph by Kim Carpenter via Flickr.

God, I love a showy spring bulb. And Allium Globemaster, a great big purple lollipop that stands 4 feet high in the middle of the garden and screams, “Look at me!” fits the bill nicely. Hardy in growing zones 5-10; six bulbs for $49 from White Flower Farm.

Allium ‘Nectaroscordum’

Above: Allium bulgaricum Nectaroscordum; photograph by Nicole Franzen.

Clusters of tiny bells dangle from the 3-foot-tall stems of Allium bulgaricum Nectaroscordum, punctuating the flower beds rather dramatically in May and June. They will grow in zones 4-9; 25 bulbs for $13 from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

Formosa Lily

Formosa lily, hardy in growing zones 6-\10WC; photograph by Harum Koh via Flickr.
Above: Formosa lily, hardy in growing zones 6-10WC; photograph by Harum Koh via Flickr.

A native of Taiwan, Formosa Lily arrived in the US in the late 1800s; it looks “like a tall slender Easter lily,” according to the catalog copy from Old House Gardens, which offers five bulbs for $54.

And it smells divine. With multiple flowers on 7-foot-high stems, this lily should distract the eye from the more frazzled perennials of late summer. This fall I’m planting a clump behind a 4-foot-high oakleaf hydrangea. Will report back.

Ixia

Photograph by Innoxia via Flickr.
Above: Photograph by Innoxia via Flickr.

One of Jeanne’s favorite bulbs is Ixia Pink which, at 16 inches high, blends well when interplanted with purple and white spring-flowering plants; hardy in growing zones 7-10, it’s $10.95 (for 30 bulbs) from Home Depot.

Camassia

Above: Camassia in the grass at Cottesbrooke Hall in the UK; photograph by Kendra Wilson.

As at home in a meadow as in a formal garden bed, Camassia Sacajawea is one of the few bulbs that will tolerate poorly drained or heavy soil; hardy in growing zones 5-9WC, 25 bulbs are $73.75 from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

Yes, of course, we still love tulips. See DIY: A Modern Tulip Garden.

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