Now In: Summer Flowering Bulbs
PLANT NOW FOR SUMMER ENJOYMENT
Summer is arguably the most satisfying time of year for the gardener. Gone are the worries of an impending frost. Departed are spring’s gray skies and torrential downpours. Sunshine is plentiful, the soil is warm and everything wants to grow, grow, grow! And, this year, more than ever, bulbs are sure to be the shining star of the summer garden.
Typically, when bulbs are mentioned, many conjure up visions of spring blooming types like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. There is, however, an amazing list of summer bloomers that provide an unmatched range of color, form and texture in the landscape, right at the height of the growing season. These beauties bloom all summer long and into the warmth of early autumn.
Most summer flowering bulbs (rhizomes, tubers, corms) are spring planted, after the last frost in our New England climate. There are a couple exceptions like Alliums, which are planted in the fall, and Hybrid Lilies, planted in either the fall or spring. Also, many but not all, summer bulbs are tender. Tender bulbs should either be dug immediately before or after the first frost and stored for the winter, or you may simply replace the following year. With a number of these bulbs being so affordable, they lend themselves to be purchased and planted anew each season.
Here are some of our favorites:
BEGONIAS Tuberous begonias add color to the shadier areas of the garden. Available in both cascading and upright forms, these beauties look fantastic in hanging baskets and in just about any type of container. Make certain, however, that your container is well drained. Begonias like their soil moist but not wet. It can take up to three months for tuberous begonias to bloom after planting.
CALADIUM Another shade loving plant, Caladium is grown primarily for its colorful foliage. Caladiums make a bright, unique and stunning addition to darker sections of the garden with their mottled, heart shaped leaves in green, pink, red and white.
DAHLIAS What can we say about Dahlias? Dahlias are the superstar of the summer garden and they never fail to steal the show. Available in oh-so-many sizes, bloom types and colors, the choice is nearly limitless. If we could grow just one type of summer flowering bulb, it would be Dahlia. Plant tubers in warm soil after all danger of frost has passed. Shorter varieties may be grown in pots. These brilliant beauties will bloom their magnificent heads off until hit with a heavy frost after which the tubers are dug and stored for the winter. Dahlias are, by far, the most diversified and colorful cut flower for summer bouquets. Check out the Dinner Plate series— with GIANT blooms that are sure to impress!
LILIES Hybrid Lilies are winter hardy and may be planted in the spring too. Some are highly fragrant and all varieties make excellent cut flowers!