Well spring is slow to come here in Ontario, what with flooding, then snow and frost! However the bulbs are starting to pop out and bring the thought if not the temperatures 🙂 The early crocuses and snowdrops are gone but the next set of bloomers are coming on centre stage. My favourites are the species tulips, smaller than the more well know Dutch bulbs but reliably perennial and spread a little more each year. The leaves are smaller as well and gracefully fade away after blooming.
First are the cheery yellow tulipa tarda and the white and yellow tulipa turkestanica, both spread slowly and can be planted under deciduous trees and shrubs as they bloom before the leaves come out and disappear quickly afterwards.
Next come the waterlily tulips, tulipa kaufmanniana, with handsome mottled or striped leaves and bicolour blooms.
Then there are the lovely deep purple to wine coloured tulipa humilis .
I still have a few iris reticulata and later crocuses blooming.
And of course for us who can’t grow the gorgeous english bluebells which I had the great fortune to see last week in Wiltshire, scilla or squill make a lovely groundcover under the trees and comes in shades of blue, pink, white and a natty blue and white striped version.
I even saw my first butterfly today! A painted lady, the most widespread butterfly in the world. In Europe they can migrate from Sweden all the way to Africa, surpassing the monarch in distance by some 2000 miles. This one is enjoying the nectar from Chinodoxa, known as glory of the snow.
My Arnold’s promise hazel has been very late this year due to the cold weather but finally came out and perfumes the garden on warm sunny days.
A lesser know but sweet little shrub is the Abeliophyllum or Korean forsythia. It grows in sun (more dense) to light shade (more open habit) and has delicate white to pink flowers. It is much more refined than the bright yellow forsythia.
My white magnolia loebneri “Merrill” is about to pop and my fingers are crossed the flowers don’t freeze tonight! They have a gorgeous citrusy scent that floats over the garden.
Bulbs are planted in the fall so if you see something interesting in your neighbourhood gardens, snap a picture of it to remember when you are ordering your next season’s glories.
Happy gardening! 🙂