Have you seen a mass of CROCUS bulbs that someone planted in their lawn? It is quite dramatic with that green frame. To get a repeat you will need to mow very high or mow very late to give the bulbs time to grow. They need foliage as long as possible so the energy from the sun (photosynthesis) can rejuvenate the bulb for next year. There are species CROCUS (also known as SNOW CROCUS that bloom even earlier-as much as two weeks. They can be forced for a bloom inside.

          I need to warn you!!! Squirrels will follow you when you plant those bulbs and dig up the bulbs! I have pieces of wire screening that I lay over any new bulb bed. Some bulbs they will eat and some they just love to dig up from the loose soil and plant someplace else and some they will just leave on the ground. I put blood meal over the top of my loose soil beds. It is a mild fertilizer. Again, cover them as some carnivore animals are attracted to the blood meal. 

          A native of Northwest USA, CAMASSIA has been called WILD HYACINTH. They like moist, fertile soil, in full sun.  It blooms a little later than earlier bulbs and before perennials begin blooming. They have six petaled, star shaped blue flowers that open from the bottom to the top and are about 24 inches high. It is not so commonly found in garden centers but does make a good cut flower. They will naturalize if you can find the bulbs.

          A tall (3-6 feet) EREMURNAS is not always easy to find but its very tall stalk, covered with bright yellow, orange, and white blooms all up and down, is a beauty. Bulbs may cost $3.00-$5.00 each. They open from the bottom up and will need plenty of room. The bulbs are very brittle. They are called DESERT CANDLES or FOXTAIL LILIES. Mine are protected from the wind by a CEDAR TREE as those dense candles are heavy when in bloom. They need full sun, well drained soil, and are planted only 2-3 inches deep. A bright orange one is called CLEOPATARA. She certainly shows off in bloom and is visible a block away! The blooms last about a month. The root stalk you will get is brittle and spidery so be careful.

          Have you seen the early blooming, small rock garden IRIS. It is only about 8 inches tall, good for forcing, usually blooms in early April, and comes in various colors and bi-colors. They are not as easy to find as regular IRIS.

          Scilla’s are a small bulb and spread in a favorable area. They bloom in blue, white, or pink and do well in partial shade. They should be planted about 4 inches apart and 5 inches deep. To force pot them up and put in a cool dark place for six to eight weeks, then place in a light window and you will have an early spring show.

          You see many large purple ALLIUMS (ornamental Onions) in spring in Lincoln. They spread  quite well. The foliage dies down quite early, but the stalks may be as much as 3 feet high and covered with huge, 8 inch purple balls for several weeks. Then you can hang them upside down to dry and have a forever bouquet. There are also DRUMSTICK ALLIUMS, NODDING ONIONS, HAIR ONIONS, and TUMBLE WEED ONIONS (I have never had any of these). The HAIR ONION is a 2 inch tentacle like green flower on a purple base. GLOBEMASTER is the largest I know about with a 10 inch globe, packed with starry flowers.

          Look around and find a bulb you have never had and enjoy next year.

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