Posts Tagged ‘spring bulbs’

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bulb Basics

Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum) Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus)

Above, from left to right: Madonna lily (Lilium candidum), cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum), and saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) in Bonnefont Herb Garden.

Many bulbous plants are grown in the gardens of The Cloisters throughout the seasons. In addition to their place in the collection as medieval species, they prolong the garden’s ornamental value, often blooming when there are no other flowers to be seen. The snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) enliven Bonnefont Herb Garden while there is still snow on the ground. Certain bulbous plants, like the fall-blooming saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), possess a rich history that our garden lecturers are eager to discuss. However, the saffron crocus is actually not a true bulb, but actually what is known as a “corm.” Read more »

Friday, March 20, 2009

Getting the Most Out of Forced Bulbs

Assorted Bulbs Spent Daffodils

Left: Assorted bulbs; right: Spent daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus ssp. obvallaris).

In the world of horticulture, the threshold between late winter and early spring is synonymous with forcing bulbs. Even if you don’t force your own, chances are you have received a pot of forced bulbs as a gift. Either way, you’re probably wondering what to do with the bulbs once the flowers have finished blooming. Many people discard them. However, with a little effort and luck, you can enjoy most forced bulbs well into the future. Read more »

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fair Maids of February

Budding snowdrops in Bonnefont Garden Snowdrop bulbs opening Fully open flowers

Above, from left to right: a cluster of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) budding beneath a quince in Bonnefont Garden; each bulb sends up two leaves and a single flowering stem; the fully open flowers persist for weeks.

The snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is the first spring bulb to emerge in Bonnefont Garden. Native to much of Europe, although probably naturalized in England, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, and Scandinavia, the snowdrop blooms from January to March in woods and scrub and by streams (Martyn Rix and Roger Phillips, The Bulb Book, 1981). It is widely grown in gardens on both sides of the Atlantic, and has escaped and naturalized in Canada and the northeastern United States. Read more »