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Early bulb bloom succession

Posted by flowerchica none (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 14:14

Could someone help me out here? I'm a new gardener. My research shows the following are all early spring bloomers, but need help knowing what order they'll bloom, which will overlap, or will they all more or less be simultaneous, here in middle Maine all under more or less the same light and moisture conditions. Thank you for any help from those of you who are more experienced!
pushkinia bulbs
early daffodils
early tulips
fritillaria meleagris
Scilla siberica
common snowdrop bulbs

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Early bulb bloom succession

A lot will vary based on your particular conditions and the weather that particular year. I'm not familiar with all the bulbs you mention. To get an idea, you may want to take a look through the show us your garden threads from last spring.

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

RE: Early bulb bloom succession

I'm in central NH, and I'll take a stab at it. As Pixie Lou said, though, your particular growing conditions will change things a lot, especially with the Hellebores, which need thawed soil before they start growing in my garden. Hellebores in areas that have soil that doesn't freeze will bloom a lot earlier than around here where either the soil or the snow on top of it is frozen all winter. My Hellebores don't bloom until May right along with the midseason bulbs most years, much later than I expected.

I think that the snowdrops and the tiny species crocus will bloom first, followed by the larger Crocus vernus (the common kind.) The Pushkinia (squill), Scilla, early daffodils, and early tulips will bloom at similar times though your particular varieties will make a difference along with the weather, and I think the earliest tulips in my garden bloom a bit later than the earliest daffs. In my garden the Muscari bloom with the early to mid daffodils. I think the Frittilaria meleagris will bloom last along with the Hellebores, though the Hellebores will hang on for quite a while.

I am sharing a computer now since mine died, but I will see if I can find some May photos to give you an idea of what is blooming when for me. It may be a week or so, however.

RE: Early bulb bloom succession

First of all, thanks PixieLou for providing the links to last spring's "Show Us Your Gardens" posts. How wonderful to see Spring coming alive in so many of the beautiful gardens here on this forum, especially as we are heading into winter!

I add to the suggestion about learning your particular growing condition --- which means your planting zone, the kind of soil you have, the sun's orientation, tree cover, the wetness or dryness of your yard, and whether or not these bulbs will be near the foundation or off in isolated areas of the yard. Because I'm from southern Connecticut, it would be hard for me to offer specific growing advice. But over the years I've grown everything on your list (except the Puschkinia scilloides) with varying success. For example, I had to give up on tulips because I was too close to the woods and the voles were eating them. At my former home my daffodils did just okay, but here, about 30 miles away, they spread so in a few years that I ended up pulling up hundreds. My early hellebores are close to the house on the east side and these bloom until early summer.

One suggestion would be to do some online research via bulb catalogues, especially if there are any sources close to you in Maine. I often find these a good place to learn cultural information. One place I look at is John VanEngelen & John Scheepers. These are related parts of the same company located in Bantum,CT. The VanEngelen catalogue/website offers large quantities of bulbs and very detailed horticultural information. If you want smaller quantities and photographs of the bulbs, the John Scheepers site is a good starting point.

I also wonder if you could get any advice from the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay? Or from local garden clubs? Of course, you may want to plunge right in and just plant. In that case I'd suggest sticking with just a few bulbs varieties that you absolutely love and test these in different planting areas in your yard. The great thing about bulbs is that they can be so easily moved.


RE: Early bulb bloom succession

One thing I want to add is that the earliest bulbs in my current garden are reticulated irises. They are planted along the foundation in a sunny spot, and they start blooming the end of March most years in various shades of purple. They don't mind snow or frost, and because the air is chilly they last for a few weeks. I plant them deeply since they seem to be enjoyed by the voles, but I love the early bloom. They are only about 6" tall when blooming, but the foliage that follows is longer and grass-like. I get them through bulb specialists like Brent and Becky's or John Scheepers.

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