The Rockery at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario last spring.
There is a touch of color in the trees now.
Though the afternoons have been gloriously warm, the nights are chilly and I find myself reaching for a sweater or light jacket as we head out for our evening walk with the dogs.
One of the ironies of gardening is that we need to be thinking about the beginning of the next gardening year at the end of the present gardening season. Along with thoughts about adding simple fall flourishes, I have been trying to wrap my head around what I need to add to my flowerbeds for next spring.
Darwin Tulips at the RBG. The orange tulip is Tulipa, 'Daydream'.
Sorry, I couldn't see an I.D. on the deep magenta tulips.
I would love to open the glossy catalogues that I received in the mail and order just about everything, but the reality is that I have a limited budget for spring bulbs. So how can I get the most spring color for the least amount of money? Time for a bit of strategy!
And apart from monetary considerations, what would compliment the collection of bulbs I already have?
I absolutely want to add snowdrops, both the common single variety and the more interesting doubles. I have admired them in Carolyn's nursery's blog for a number of years. Recently, I noted that I can now find some of these more unusual varieties of snowdrops through Botanus in Canada.
I also want to add yellow 'Winter Aconite'. Not only do they flower earlier than most other bulbs, they can also handle the shade, which I have in abundance in the back garden. I hope to leave them to naturalize the under huge maple tree. ( Botanus has them on sale. Bonus!)
I love, love blue scilla. I have them in the front garden, and would like add more, so they can colonize the back yard as well. I often find these bulbs on sale in area stores and so I am going to buy them locally to save on shipping.
I got these Chionodoxa forbesii 'Pink Giant' last year from Gardenimports (I notice they are already sold out at Gardenimports, but are still available at Botanus).
My picture does not due them justice. They were really, really pretty.
There is also a crisp white, deep sky-blue and a gentian blue options available at both Gardenimports and Botanus if I have any funds left over.
....And while I am still thinking small scale, maybe I should order a few of these
Anemone blanda 'Blue Star'.
I have no Muscari in the garden at the moment. The blue ones are affordable and relatively easy to find. There is also a pink variety, pale sky blue and multi-toned Muscari that are more a bit expensive, but hard to resist.
Gosh, I am beginning to feel poorer already!
Better start thinking about some larger bulbs before all my budget disappears.
Narcissus 'Ice Follies' was one of my favourites in my garden last spring.
There always seems to be standard daffodils and narcissus in the clearance bins at local stores, so I am going hold off and wait for the sales.
Narcissus, 'Soestdijk' at Edwards Gardens
Specialty varieties seem disappear early, so I would like to get a jump buying some of these.
Narcissus, 'Thalia' and white anemones, which I admired at Edwards Gardens this past spring.
I adored these simple white Narcissus that I saw on a number of blogs
and in local area gardens.
These yellow and white ones were also pretty at Edwards Gardens. Narcissus 'Avalon' or 'Pipit' are also going on my wish list.
One of the most beautiful Narcissus in my garden last spring was called 'Amadeus Mozart'. With its ruffled orange cup 'Amadeus Mozart' is as pretty as a summer party dress. I didn't manage to get a picture of it but you can find see it at Gardenimports here.
Daffodils and Narcissus that will naturalize themselves in the garden seem like a worthwhile investment (over most types of tulips which are good for 3 or 4 years).
Although squirrels will to dig them up if you don't plant them properly, they prefer tulips as snack food. I plant my bulbs extra deep (about 8 inches) and stamp the soil down firmly with my foot after I bury them. If the squirrels are going to dig them up for fun, I want the little beggars to have to really work hard to find them.
I see that garden writer, Judith Adams (Garden Making magazine) also recommends in a recent post that you avoid setting bulbs on the surface of the soil as you work. She also suggests that disguise your work with a thorough drenching with a watering can and then add a covering of leaves to hide your buried spring treasures. Read more here.
More spring planning in another post to come....