Where Bulbs Shine … On and On

Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) at the New York Botanical Garden, with emerging ferns and hellebore foliage

Why do some bulbs persist in the garden, while others disappear? It’s so easy to fall for those seductive photos in the bulb catalogs, to optimistically plant every pretty thing that catches our eye only to be disappointed in spring. Some disappear without a trace. Others we expectantly watch as they emerge from the cold ground, elongate and develop fat promising buds that become deer candy before they have a chance to open. Some are great the first season, O.K. the next and totally wimp out after that. Others are so enthusiastic we wish they would wimp out. A lot depends on breeding, site conditions, origin and palatability to critters.

With a commitment to sustainability and preference for conserving my own time and money, I’ve come to depend on an array of bulbs that come up every spring with no effort on my part, bloom their heads off, disappear without much fuss to make room for successive plantings and increase year by year. Seductive photos of long-lasting bulbs in real gardens and landscapes around the country will be accompanied by advice on selection, siting, bulbs for difficult conditions, naturalizing, perennializing and artfully combining with perennials for a long season of bloom.




Read more in Karen’s article Great Bulbs That Last

for The American Horticultural Society’s magazine, The American Gardener

Contact Karen to book this talk.