Bulbs for Colorado Gardens
At Harlequin’s Gardens, we have been experimenting for years with bulbs in our display gardens. Since our gardens are xeriscapes (by default even where not by design), we have had the pleasure of discovering that a great many delightful bulbs can thrive and naturalize in our conditions and enliven the scene in spring and fall. No surprise, really, since most of these hardy spring and autumn-blooming bulbs originated in parts of the world with conditions much like ours, such as Central Asia. Visitors to our gardens have been wowed by enormous Star of Persia Alliums and brilliant sapphire miniature iris and charmed by perky miniature daffodils and starry species tulips and crocus. They (you) kept asking us “where can I get these?”, so in 2008, we carefully selected our first-ever offering of bulbs for sale at Harlequin’s Gardens.
Since then, we have added many wonderful varieties, and in 2021 featured 80 different varieties! (Individual descriptions and images, below.) Quantities are limited and often sell out quickly. We recommend that you purchase your bulbs in September and hold them for planting when the soil is cooler (except Saffron Crocus and Crocus speciosus, which should be planted in September). Planting depths are to the bottom of the planting hole where the base of the bulb rests. Planting depth can vary depending on how light or heavy your soil is – plant deeper in light soils, shallower in heavier soils. As a general rule planting depth is 3 times the height of the bulb. Single Early, Triumph, Darwin Hybrid, and Multi-flowering tulips should be planted 8″ deep to perform as perennials and fertilized each year just after bloom. Be sure to allow the leaves and stems to wither naturally before cutting them down.
Here are some inspirations for ways and places to use bulbs that you may not have thought of. One idea is to plant small early-blooming bulbs, such as many of the species tulips, where the ground is exposed in spring but will be covered in summer by spreading herbaceous perennials like Desert Four-O’Clock (Mirabilis multiflora), ‘Orange Carpet’ California Fuschia (Zauschneria garrettii), or Wine Cups (Callirhoe involucrata). Also, meadows and drifts of ornamental grasses are usually dormant until mid to late spring and present a perfect stage for a brilliant display of many types of early spring bulbs. Deciduous groundcovers that emerge in mid-spring, like Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides), can partner nicely with Iris reticulata and small species tulips.