They may not be as familiar as Dutch bulbs, but there are many choice bulbs that grow sweet, petite flowers perfect for edging beds and borders or filling containers. Many also naturalize, adding to their impact over time. Here are some to try:
• Baboon flower (Babiana) — Starry flowers ranging from blue to magenta and white with fan-shaped foliage. 10-12 inches tall.
• Ornithogalum dubium — Showy flower clusters make a statement in the garden or vase. Choose among ‘Orange Cream’, ‘Lemon Custard’ or ‘Coconut Custard’. 7-10 inches tall.
• Purple shamrock (Oxalis triangularis) —
Magenta-veined, triangular, purple leaves
are a conversation starter. Tiny pale-pink flowers blossom in spring. 7-10 inches tall. Not invasive or weedy.
• 'Golden Bells’ daffodil (Narcissus) — A dozen sunny-yellow cupped flowers ringed by petals sprout from each tiny bulb. Grassy-green foliage. 6 inches tall.
• Sparaxis — Flowers are kaleidoscopic with yellow eyes and petals ranging from white and pink to bright orange and wine. 10-12 inches high.
• Lady tulip (Tulip clusiana) — Unlike Dutch hybrids, these tiny tulips handle heat and naturalize. ‘Lady Jane’ is white and cherry; T. c. chrysantha is golden yellow and red. 6-7 inches tall.
Gardens: Garden Planner
By Mary James