If you don’t hear crickets chirping, it’s time to plant spring-flowering bulbs.
That means it’s not time yet to plant, according to the crickets in my garage. Buy your bulbs, keep them in a cool, dark place and wait. But rather than cricket serenades, the thickness of a wooly caterpillar’s fur coat, or when hosta foliage flops in the garden, the best rule of thumb for planting bulbs is temperature.
When nighttime temperatures consistently average 40 to 50 F, it’s time to blast out the bulb auger and drill and set to work. It’s better to plant late before the ground freezes than to plant early.
Gardeners can look forward to some new tulip and daffodil varieties for spring. Colorblends, for example, is offering three new daffodils, “Frosty Snow,” “Snowboard” and “Watch Up.”
“Frosty Snow” is described as “an especially charming white” daffy with a broad yellow cup and ruffled edges. As days pass, the yellow retreats until it just rims the edges, then vanishes entirely. It’s an early-mid-season bloomer growing 16 to 18 inches tall.
“Snowboard” is a late-blooming, broad-faced white daffodil with a long, fluted cup and petals shaped like guitar picks. It grows 14 to 16 inches high. White-petaled “Watch Up” offers large flowers, 18-20-inch strong stems and a cup that opens in soft yellow in early- to mid-season. As it matures, the cup turns creamy white.
New tulip varieties offered by other plant and bulb purveyors include:
“Artist” — Golden-orange flowers, soft green feathering on cupped blooms, standing 12 inches tall. From Park Seed.
“Brown Sugar” – A sweetly scented tulip, it has reddish-brown petals that turn to golden apricot edges. From Dutch Grown.
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“Carre” — A unique purple-lilac flower with a dark, purple/black stem. From Brett and Becky’s Bulbs.
“Royal Virgin” – Smooth, snow-white petals on a perfectly-formed tulip. From Longfield Gardens.
“Lava Dynasty” – Shapely, fragrant blooms in delicate orange-apricot with a halo of white at the base of each flower. From Breck’s.
“Pittsburg” – Long-lasting, egg-shaped blooms in rich purple flushed with a smoky haze at the base for an iridescent luster. From Breck’s.
“La Belle Epoque” – Truly wow-worthy, large dusky rose blooms shaded with cream and honey. From Jung Seeds.
“Orca” – Very fragrant, long-lasting blooms that open as pale honey orange and deepen to tangerine. From VanBloem Gardens.
“Chocolate Candy Collection — A combination of dark purple tulips. From Dutch Grown.
“Flirty Fleurs Paloma Collection – A combination of singles, doubles, parrots, solids and stripes in a harmonious blend of purple and burgundy hues. From Longfield Gardens.
“Diamond Touch” – A collection of three double tulip varieties in shades of amethyst, deep rose and sparkling white, mid- to late-season blooms. From Colorblends.
“Riesling” – Five white and yellow tulip varieties, all late-flowering types that bloom together or in quick succession. Four are chalice-shaped and the fifth is a smaller, white lily-flowered tulip with reflexed petals. From Colorblends.