Spring Bulb Report

I planted bulbs in 2009 and 2010. Most of them failed to appear the next spring. Those that did grow up, and came back again this spring, are some tough and determined plants.

Fritillaria meleagris

There are six Frittilaria meleagris at the relatively sunny front of the wet-shade bed. They are increasing — doubling up, but still look sparse. They look like they belong among other tall, thin-leaved plants, such as grasses in a wet meadow, which I don’t have. I took seed last fall and have seedlings this spring, which I will keep in a pot to maybe, in a few years, get the mass-planting effect on a small scale.

Fritillaria meleagris bud

I don’t grow hybrid tulips, with their freakishly oversize, plasticky flowers. But I decided to try species tulips, thinking they might be hardier and more natural looking. I planted a big bag of mixed bulbs. The hardiest turned out be what I assume are Tulipa tarda. There is also, three years on, one round, red flower, which may be a Tulipa humilis. The Tulipa tarda have spread seed around, and this spring the seeds were sprouting.

Tulipa tarda?

Species tulip — Tulipa tarda?

Lone red species tulp — Tulipa humilis?

Considering how many bulbs I planted, I should have great drifts of crocuses. Instead, I find a crocus here, a crocus there. These few are quick to increase, though, so maybe I will one day have those drifts.

a pale blue crocus in the alpine trough

a yellow crocus in the alpine garden

The snowdrops (Galanthus) have featured on the blog before. Their survival rate is similar to that of the crocuses, about 1 out of 8.

Snowdrop

The hardiest and most vigorous daffodil I’ve tried is a white multi-flowering type named ‘Thalia.’ They are packaged as “Rockgarden Narcissi,” but they stood too tall and wrong-looking among the primulas in my rock garden, so I dug them out this spring and stuffed them in a pot. After they had finished flowering, I dumped them out and separated them into ten pots, two or so bulbs to a pot (there were five bulbs in the original package), which will sit in the sun through the summer. When the foliage has died back, I will replant the bulbs in a suitable spot.

‘Thalia’ potted, a few days past their best — a pack of five bulbs much increased in their third spring

A couple of the mini narcissus have come back for a second and third spring. The most vigorous of these is ‘Jetfire.’ I found a few ‘Tete a Tete,’ but only one of the tiny ‘Hawera.’

Mini Narcissus ‘Hawera’

‘Tete-a-Tete’

I have fewer of this fritillaria in flower than last year, some bulbs putting up only foliage.

Fritillaria michailovskyi

Finally, the reliable, ever-increasing purple globe alliums.

Purple globe allium (ornamental onion)

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