Urban Garden Denver Blog

Fall Bulb Planting

Think spring before winter sets in, and you will be rewarded with lovely flowers in February through May. Most of us are familiar with Tulips, Daffodils and Crocuses, but there are an amazing array of spring blooming bulbs to try in your garden. This year, experiment with a dozen bulbs of some new variety.

Miniature wildflower iris are a great early spring flower. At only 4-8″ tall they are lovely planted in clumps for little bouquets along the edge of a walkway. I prefer the purple and blue varieties but they also come in yellow. Because they are short, they will usually survive a light spring snow, and the blue/purple color is a nice contrast to snow.

Miniature Iris with Spring Snow

Another lovely spring flower is Spanish Bluebells (hyacinthoides). They are cousins of the classic hyacinth, but have a looser array of flowers that provides a great wildflower look. At 15-20″ tall they can can come up through groundcovers for a nice display. I already have a couple dozen of these in my garden, but ordered more to plant later this month.

I asked my friend Karen for some of her bulb recommendations as she has a great variety in her garden. She mentioned Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow), Scillia, Snowdrops and Anenomes. She uses Brent and Becky’s Bulbs and I tend to order from High Country Gardens.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with planting classic tulips and daffodils. I have found that the wildflower tulips tend to do better in our dry climate than the more common varieties. And shorter is better for many of these spring bloomers — since we are sure to get a spring snow about the time everything is blooming.

It’s still too early to plant the bulbs — they do better after we’ve had a frost. Later in October is a good time, but if the ground hasn’t frozen, you can plant into November or December. One year I had a few more daffodils that I hadn’t had time to get in the ground. After I put the turkey in the oven for Thanksgiving dinner, I went outside, dug a hole and planted the last of the bulbs.

Planting bulbs is a hopeful activity in the fall — as the growth of the bulb is hidden for many months until one spring day you will be surprised with colorful blossoms.

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  1. * Karen says:

    I love High Country Gardens too! Timberline Gardens in Arvada sells their perennials in the spring/summer.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 4 months ago

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