With October only days away it is more than time to think about bulbs for the Spring garden. In fact if you want tulips then they should be planted without delay. However tulips are only one of many bulbs that provide color early in the year. This article by Linda Moran which I found on The Master Gardeners website suggests several attractive alternatives to the “tried and true crocus, daffodil, and tulip combination”.

With the exuberance of summer color fading and a break from feeding, watering and deadheading in sight, it may be time to turn your energy toward plotting a spring show of bulbs for your garden. When it comes to ease of planting and spectacular bang for your buck, bulbs win best in show every time. Further, if you follow the optimum-planting schedule you’ll be able to ease those winter garden blahs by contemplating the splendor to come.
It is tempting and easy to stick with the tried and true crocus, daffodil, and tulip combination but with a little imagination and sleuthing you will discover that there are a wealth of bulb varieties. Nothing quite lifts the gardener’s heart like the sight of a bunch of Snowdrops (galanthus) pushing their way up through the snows of January and February or the simplicity and beauty of a soft lavender Tommie crocus (c, tommasinianus) rising three inches above the brown leaves under the warm March sun.
Early cheery daffodils, showy species tulips, muscari and Trout Lily (erythronium), Spring Snowflake (leucojum aestivum), Glory of the Snow (chionodoxa luclliae), and the lovely soft blue starflower are all readily available and should be considered if you can stretch your gardening budget to do so. And squirrels do not seem as interested in smaller bulbs – a real bonus. Minor bulbs I have particularly enjoyed are the muscari – there are over 50 types available, Grecian Windflowers (anemone blanda) especially in blue and white, Festival Hyacinths, which are very fragrant and compact, Spring Snowflakes, (leucojeum) which belong to the amaryllis family and are tall slender stems hung with white bells tipped with dots of green,Wood Hyacinths (scilla nonscript) and Dogtooth Vioiets (erythronium) which I have fond memories of picking in May from a marshy area in a meadow on our farm.
The Kaufmanniana, Species and Greigii Tulips are a delight in early spring and the Alliums round off the spring bulb season with their tall slender stems that bear ball-shaped blooms in shades of lilac purple and violet. Mount Everest and White Giant are two striking white varieties.

See more at The Master Gardeners

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