Buried beauties

Carla Allen
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It's always much more pleasant to plant your spring-blooming bulbs while the temperature is still well above zero.  If you don't get chance to do it in October though, you can plant them right up until the ground freezes in early December.

Tulips in pastel shades are always attractive.
iBulb photo

As fall grows older, stores often mark bulbs down in an effort to clear them out.

White-flowering spring bulbs have been popular in Europe in recent years. They bring simplicity and balance to the contemporary garden.

There are so many to choose from: endless ribbons of white daffodils, a field full of white tulips, or a lawn sprinkled with white crocuses are examples.

Minimalism is key to the contemporary blue garden. Masses of a single variety are perfect for small spaces with crisp clean contours.

For low-growing varieties, consider the use of colour fields composed of Scilla siberica, edges of Iris reticulata, a river of Anemone blanda and masses of purple-blue crocuses. For container gardening, choose grape hyacinths or hyacinths.

A stunning design will consider not only the harmony of colours but the shapes of the flowers as well. The variety afforded by spring-flowering bulbs is so great that you should have absolutely no trouble at all in finding exactly what you want.

Tulips provide a good example of the variety in shapes to be had. The double or fringed flowers provide a natural and rugged, especially pretty, uncultivated look.

Or you can jive up your flowerbed by mixing bright, eye-popping colours. How about purple tulips with hot pink, bright yellow flowers? Also striking is a combination of pastel-coloured bulb flowers with a fluorescent accent, for daredevil flower lovers.

While shopping for bulbs remember to look for firm ones. They are generally healthy bulbs. Give bulbs a squeeze, the way you would when choosing fruit or onions, to make sure that they’re firm and healthy. Just like farm market produce, it’s okay if bulbs have a few marks on them, but reject bulbs that are mushy or show signs of mold or fungus as these bulbs were probably mishandled at some point. Many bulbs, especially tulips, have a papery onion-skin covering called a tunic.

If a bulb’s tunic is cracked and peeling, or even gone completely and exposing the bulb underneath, it’s nothing to worry about. A torn or cracked tunic may even help a bulb to root more quickly.




Geographic location: Europe, Anemone

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