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?