Have you given any thought as to which bulbs you will plant this fall? Bulbs often get overlooked and forgotten in the garden because we plant them at certain times of the year, i.e spring and fall, but you have a window of opportunity waiting right now to start planning for a showy display of blooming beauties for next Spring’s display! Let’s take a look at a few of our favorites to get your feet wet and your garden tools out of the shed.
Let’s start with Allium bulbs. They come in lots of varieties and are a show stopper. They meet all our criteria in the garden when space is at a premium. Meaning, they are excellent cut flowers, or you can dry them for bouquets inside or for decorating. The deer, rabbit, squirrels, and voles resistant them due to the onion taste. But, on the contrary, they are bee, butterfly, and pollinator magnets! With many varieties to choose from, they thrive in either full sunlight or part sun.
Allium bulbs put on a spectacular show May through August depending on the variety you plant. They also come in various heights. The most recognized Allium is Allium ‘Gladitor’ that tops heights of 3-4′ tall. Plant these rosey-purple globes of florets in full sun and watch them bloom in May and June with bloom sizes as much as 7-8 inches across. Since the foliage starts deteriorating before bloom time, combine with colorful foliage plants such as the silvery-gray Artemisia or sun coleus varieties such as ‘Hot Sauce’ The contrast in the garden next to these bodacious blooms will be on the neighborhood watch list for passersby!
Another option for a white blooming allium is Allium nigrum (Ornamental Onion). The bloom head on this beauty is a little smaller than Allium ‘Gladitor’ but still holds its own in the garden with a 3-4 inch full ball of starry blooms; its stalk reaches upwards of 18-24 inches! Combine this one with purple and blue irises and the contrast in pink of Geranium sanguineum ‘Elke.’ The geranium will hide the spent leaves of the Allium and keep up the bloom-a-thon after the allium blooms. You can find a few more of our favorite Allium varieties here!
Another deer and rabbit resistant fall bulb splendor in the garden is the Fritillaria meleagris (Checkered Lily), which grows 14-16 inches tall, has an unusual burgundy checkered petal pattern on its bell-shaped flowers, sitting upon a slender stem. These unique Spring flowers will come back year after year and can be displayed in full sun to part shade with fertile, moist, well-drained soil. These bulbs for Fall plantings can coexist and be ravishing in contrast to plants like Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue.’ Plant the combo in a container garden and place next to the door when in full bloom then transplant into the garden afterward for continued enjoyment.
Another high-rise specimen with a lot of sunshine-yellow is Fritillaria imperialis ‘Maxima Lutea.’ Its yellow bell-shaped flowers look downward, but the stalks are tall enough adding to its visual appeal, reaching 3-4′ in height! This one starts the show mid to late Spring and lasts 2-3 weeks giving your garden some important pollinator activity. These fall-planted bulbs make great companions with tulips, daffodils and hyacinths bulbs.
Where all else won’t grow, these harbingers of Spring lift their pretty white heads out of the ground and celebrate the new year! They are juglone resistant bulbs that will grow even under black walnut trees where nothing else will! Snowdrops are early risers out of the ground and will even welcome Spring under a blanket of freshly fallen snow, and they have remarkable resilience with their sweet bouquets of fragrance. Thriving in partial sun to shade makes them an excellent alternative as ground covers in garden beds and underplantings with shrubs. A good choice in combination with Snowdrops is Cyclamen coum (Persian Violet). The violet contrast in color and blueish heart-shaped glossy leaves add another element of texture and shape to the garden bed.
So which will it be for your garden bed? Plant a few of these in the Fall and you will have much to talk about as these little treasures pop up offering their beautiful blooms when the winter falls away!
If your thumb isn’t as green as you’d like and you feel it’s best to call the professionals, reach out to MasterPLAN Outdoor Living! From thoughtful landscape design to complete backyard transformations including (but not limited to!) custom swimming pools, shade structures, water/fire features, and kitchens, we would love to partner with you to translate your outdoor aspirations into a beautiful and functional space that your family will love for years to come! Together, we can experience your outdoor living journey together so you and your family can live your best lives outdoors!
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