Spring Bulbs and Garden Inspiration Part II

Last week, I told you about a garden talk I attended at the Robert Mills Carriage House and Gardens in Columbia, SC. Jim Martin (The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Director of Horticulture & Landscape) was the second presenter. He discussed using bulbs to create “special little moments” every day.

My love for horticulture started when I worked with annuals in a garden center. I spent my paycheck on fuel and all the flowering annuals I could fit on my parents’ back deck. Since then, 30-plus years have passed, and I am using primarily perennials in my landscape beds. Somewhere along the way, I had stopped “allowing” myself to consider using anything that might be short-lived. Perhaps this was because I was caring for my family and had little time to spend in the landscape. I am not sure exactly why, but I do know that horticultural interests can be ever evolving. Jim’s talk about creating “special little moments” every day inspired me to use plants I had left behind along my horticultural path.

  • Alliums or ornamental onions (Allium giganteum) attract many pollinating insects.
    Alliums or ornamental onions (Allium giganteum) attract many pollinating insects. Barbara H. Smith, ©2023, Clemson Extension

Due to our warmer climate, many species will not perennialize here. Jim mentioned a few species to consider for creating these special little moments.

  • Allium species
  • Dutch Irises
  • Darwin Tulips (stagger plantings for extended color)- If you are hesitant to invest too much money in tulips, consider using tulips in a container to create a special little moment this spring! Jim reminded everyone to plant them about 1.5 months before you want them to flower.
  • And those Amaryllis you have in the house to create a special moment indoors, don’t throw them out once they have finished blooming. Save them until next spring to plant after the fear of frost has passed. NOTE: Just remember that these bulbs were forced (which uses a lot of energy) and may take a year or two to flower again.

Luckily, the fun doesn’t end with these spring bulbs. Summer flowering bulbs can be planted after the fear of frost has passed in late spring, such as lilies, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, eucomis, and caladiums.

  • Caladium ‘Moonlight’ brightens a shady area.
    Caladium ‘Moonlight’ brightens a shady area. Barbara H. Smith, ©2022, Clemson Extension

Somehow, over time, my love of creating these “special little moments” had disappeared. So, if you have become a little more like me, using long-lasting bulbs over showy, shorter-lived bulbs- I hope this inspires you to create “special little moments” for yourself.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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