Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Don’t overlook these springtime bulbs

  • Print

My Christmas cactus is flowering for the second time — that’s the kind of winter it has been! I love my Christmas cactus, but in April, it’s the springtime flowers I’m looking for.

I’m looking forward to seeing daffodils and tulips, of course, but they aren’t the only springtime flowering bulbs. Crocus, grape hyacinth, squill, and hyacinth all thrive in our climate, but as the more subdued of our springtime flowering bulbs, they tend to be overlooked. Big mistake. After a winter like this, spring needs to be celebrated to the max. More is better.
With the exception of hyacinth, these are small plants, a mere 15 to 20 centimetres in height.

Think drifts, swaths, fillers when planting them. All require well-drained soil, and will not tolerate soggy conditions.

The native crocus (Pulsatilla patens) is indeed the first flower of spring, and can easily be missed if you aren’t paying attention. Quiet on entry, small in size, this plant is big on guts. If you’re going to start flowering before the snow goes, you better come prepared. It arrives wearing a jacket of fine hair to keep it warm.

The introduced crocuses (Crocus spp.) flower a bit later, and tend to be a bit bigger. They come in a variety of purples and whites, and don’t have the furry jacket. Put them in a spot that receives the spring’s warm sun, but with some midday protection from summer’s hot sun.

Grape hyacinth (Muscari spp.) is a busy and prolific little plant. Its flower looks like a miniature cluster of grapes, and offers both texture and abundance to the springtime garden. It does well in sun, and reasonably well in partial shade. As it flowers mid-spring, it’s a great addition to newly awakening patches of hosta or fiddleheads. This plant will spread, so make sure you love it before you plant it.

Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) is one of the most exuberant of the springtime flowers. Its tiny five-petalled blue or white flower positively chirps cheer. This is also a spreader, so make sure you love it before you plant it. It likes sun, or partial shade.

Hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) are the tallest of this group, 20 to 30 centimetres. They are very ornate with spikes of typically blue, purple, pink, or white flowers. Put them in full sun. A small cluster of hyacinths will give plenty of colour, but if you love them, more is better.

Carla Keast has a master’s degree in landscape architecture and is a Winnipeg-based freelance landscape designer. She can be reached at contact@carlakeast.com.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Fall Arts Guide

We preview what’s new and what’s coming up in Winnipeg’s new arts season

View our Fall Arts Guide

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

Do you agree with the Winnipeg School Division’s decision to ban e-cigarettes?

View Results