April 11, 2011

Parade of Small Spring Bulbs

Small bulbs have been the stars of the garden so far this spring. I love the small bulbs because many of them bloom early, and once the show is over their diminutive foliage doesn't draw as much attention to its half-dead state as large tulip leaves do when they die back (although I planted some tulips last fall anyway). Above is a shot of Crocus 'Grand Maitre' and blue Scilla 'Spring Beauty'.

One drawback to small bulbs is that a photographer has to sprawl in damp grass or hunch down into the dirt to catch good photos. My neighbors must have had a chuckle or two at my contortions on the front lawn the other day while snapping these photos.

Last week I mentioned how unusual Crocus tommasinianus looks when the flowers first stretch up. So here's a photo to demonstrate. Somehow they look half-dressed. Though it's not apparent in this shot, sometimes it takes a few days for the petals to grow long enough to enclose the stamens, so there are bits of orange sticking out the tops even when they're closed.

But when the sun shines these cheerful little flowers throw back their petals and glow! In this photo you can see them blooming amid tulip foliage. I saved myself some work last fall by planting crocus right on top of tulip bulbs. With the tulips at 8" deep and the crocus at 4", there was plenty of room for both.

Here you can see blue Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow) blooming with Aubrieta 'Axcent Blue' in the foreground and more Crocus 'Grand Maitre' in the background. I'm planning to add some C. 'Pink Giant' to the mix as well, since this is what I see out my kitchen window while doing dishes. I was hoping the Aubrieta would bloom at the same time as the 'Basket of Gold' (Aurinia saxatilis) planted beside it, but so far no luck. Hopefully the bloom times will overlap at least for a little while, since the deep violet and gold would be pretty together.

I can't remember if these are Chionodoxa luciliae or C. forbesii 'Blue Giant', which makes it difficult to order more to match. Though if they're so similar, maybe it won't matter what type I get.

Here a shot of Chionodoxa with Phlox 'Emerald Blue' in the background. I had an idea that these might bloom together, but the phlox isn't even close to blooming yet. There's plenty of trial and error in trying to match up spring blooming partners.

It's interesting to compare the light blue of the Chionodoxa with the light blue Scilla 'Spring Beauty', which are also blooming right now. Though both could be called 'true blue', the Chionodoxa leans slightly toward periwinkle while the Scilla (above) is an almost turquoise blue.

I planted Scilla around clumps of miniature daffodils ('Tete-a-Tete') in hopes that the blue and yellow would play off each other well. So far most of the daffodils haven't started blooming . . .

. . . except for the clump in the photo above, which makes a cheerful combination. This pretty picture - with afternoon sunlight backlighting the flowers - was definitely worth a few strange looks from the neighbors and a few damp spots on my jeans, don't you think?


  1. Absolutely phenomenal photos! Seeing those colors this time of year is the best. I really need to do a better job of planting more bulbs next Fall as you must be thrilled to have the color you have now. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Your photos are lovely, definitely worth the effort. Every spring I tell myself to remember to plant more crocus, oh well maybe this year.

  3. Witam. Piękne wiosenne kwiatki, jak i zdjęcia. Popatrz u mnie na posty "A to sie dzieje" i " Już pracują w ogródku" i zobaczysz, ze nam rosną takie same kwiatki i to wspaniałe. Pozdrawiam

  4. Oh, yes, worth every stare and strange look! Your spring parade is beautiful - I love crocus because it means spring has arrived! Love the last shot. The blue and yellow together are very pretty.

  5. Beautiful little gems, aren't they? You're a master at photographing them.

  6. Great pictures, and it must have taken a lot of lying down:). I spend a lot of time stalking my flowers with a camera too - my neighbors are used to it by now (I hope). Thanks for showing these lovely bulbs.

  7. Oh how pretty they look. I cannot believe I do not have any crocus. They are on my Fall planting list.LOL!

  8. I love the blues of those small bulbs, especially the scilla. Right now, my garden is full of the yellows of daffodils (the crocuses finished several weeks ago). I don't have any scilla in my garden, but I do get to enjoy them in my walks around the neighborhood. -Jean

  9. Delighted to have found your post in my Google Reader today. Blue is my favorite color, especially in flowers. Beautiful images!

  10. I planted Scilla and thought there were 5, have found 3 coming up....barely. Think it was late.
    Your photos of the Crocus are great, wet grass belly and all!

  11. The small things really do pop with color in the spring. Love those purples...


Thanks for leaving a comment! I have comment moderation turned on to catch spam, so your comment will show up as soon as I can read and approve it.