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Sure-fire Bulbs for a Spring Show in the South

So many choices!  And so many enticing bulbs in box stores right now.  For so many reasons, I buy bulbs only from specialty bulb farms — the best value and the best chance for success and joy.  Here’s a list of the sure to flower bulbs being planted at Historic Columbia today.

Click on the links in the list below to see bulb descriptions on the page of a North Carolina bulb farms.  And look at the pics at the bottom of the post.  To weave bulbs together, plant then sow seeds of some of our favorite greens and flowers (links below).

Narcissus Rijvelds Early Sensation  The earliest daffodil flower for us — sometimes in January or late Feb.  This is a single, yellow trumpet; a classic daffodil.

Narcissus Hillstar makes bouquets of flowers typical of what many of us call jonquils.  Flowers in late March. (photo below)

Narcissus Thalia’s delicate white flowers come in mid-March. (photo below)

Narcissus Carlton has big, yellow trumpets — what may of us think of when we think Daffodil. (photo below)

Anemone coronaria  l love this little bulb for its emerald green mound of leaves, a great contrast to other bulbs, and tons of flowers in March and April.  Stick with this species as other falter in the South.  I always soak them in water for 8 hours before I plant— and make sure they have rich dirt.

Allium Gladiator is one of the few big, purple ball allium that thrives in the south.  It’s the latest to flower of all these bulbs.  It looks great with a bed of mustard green leaves under it; and they’ll add late yellow flowers to compliment the purple balls.

Dutch Iris take us into the full glory of spring, flowering around the first week of April.  I’m planting mixed colors this year—white, blue, yellow. (photo below)

To give the bulbs some greenery to grow through and a few flowers, we seeded in a mix of Scarlet Frills Mustard, Gold Streak Mustard and Pastel Toadflax — definitely one of the must have, joyful flowers of spring.

Easy planting method and a few more bulb suggestions nicely explained by Marriana Green of Dallas Morning News garden writer.

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7 Responses to Sure-fire Bulbs for a Spring Show in the South

  1. Avatar
    Dick Chenoweth November 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Just finished Deep Rooted Wisdom. Wished it had more pages…it reinforced alot of my gardening ways and I learned new things. Thank you for making the page margins wide for notes and the pages out of paper heavy enough so a “hi-lighter’ doesn’t bleed thru. I will be ordering a couple more copies for Christmas presents.

    • Jenks Farmer
      Jenks Farmer November 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

      Thanks Dick! We can send copies for you, w a gift card if you want.

  2. Avatar
    Laura L Davis November 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Why the math? Is it a trick? I am mathematically illiterate.

    But I love daffodils. Or jonquils or narcissus. All of them. Growing up, we always picked my grandparents’ place clean to put flowers on all the family graves for Easter. There were usually enough left to fill a big vase for the table.

    So I am trying to have plenty of daffodils too. So far I have planted about 400 bulbs. There are 500 more in a box in the carport waiting for the rain to stop. They arrived Thursday. I have some Carleton, some Mount Hood (which I know don’t do that well in the South but I’m trying anyhow) some poeticus, and a couple of mixtures.

    I like Old House Gardens They are probably my favorties, though not as showy as the newer ones. But they smell wonderful and remind me more of the ones I picked as a kid.

    Gibbs Gardens has a good show in spring. Visiting there made me want more daffodils, hence the latest order. I can’t begin to compete with that, but I can have fun with my yard and give the neighbors something pretty to see.

    • Avatar
      Laura L Davis November 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

      That should be Old House Gardens catalog. They carry a good selection of old-fashioned bulbs, both spring- and summer-flowering. They carry Early Louisiana, Campernelle, and Butter and Eggs. Those are my favorites.

      • Jenks Farmer
        Jenks Farmer November 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

        I’ve used them before too….and been on a tour of their nursery in Michigan.

  3. Avatar
    Sally Bourrie November 2, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    Jenks, thank you for this article on bulbs for the South! I’m new to gardening in the East and this is really helpful. Even though I’m in Maryland, the summer heat and wet (vs. the Mediterranean where so many bulbs originated) makes this a new adventure for me. My yard was neglected gardening-wise for decades so I’m pulling and digging out every invasive thing known to man and I’ve got about 500 bulbs to plant this fall — and wishing I had about 10 times that and the people to plant them! I’m looking forward to purchasing some of the bulbs you recommend and happy to see that I do have some of them already, too. I love your book and it was great to meet you when you spoke to the Four Seasons Garden Club this year. Your Herbert crinum bloomed like a champ in my yard! Take much good care and keep up the good work. (Boy, I hope I win that shirt — I’m a disco-era veteran, I confess.)

    • Jenks Farmer
      Jenks Farmer November 2, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      Well Sally, I can’t believe your bulb flowered this year. Great news. We already have a winner of the shirt but we’ll do it again sometimes. And next spring you can try the crinum named for Regina — Crinum ‘Regina’s Disco Lounge’.

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