Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Extend the Bloom Bulb Choices

purple flowering Glory-in-Snow bulbs in bloom

Hello Fellow Readers,

Stephanie from Denville NJ wrote ‘I’m so excited! I ordered a bunch of daffodil bulbs but it looks like they won’t ship until late October.’ That’s right Stephanie, you don’t want to plant bulbs too early as it can lead to fungus or disease problems. Ideally, bulbs need time to root and establish themselves and should be planted at least six weeks before ground-freezing frost is expected. A good rule of thumb is to plant when the average nighttime temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees. However, if you miss the ideal time, don’t wait for spring or next fall as bulbs typically won’t survive out of the ground that long. Better to plant them in the ground if tillable or in a chilled pot to give them a fighting chance.

Samantha from Hackettstown NJ asked for guidance on bulb selections that would extend the bloom season and that deer won’t eat. I reached out to my colleague Marty Carson of Three Seasons who has an incredible depth of plant knowledge and is known for unique plant combinations. ‘You can get three to four months of continuous bloom from bulbs’ Marty advised. Brent and Becky Bulbs, one of our favorites, has a nifty blub finder in their catalog and online that allows you to search by bloom time and genus to make planning a breeze.

Scilla siberica‘Alba’

Siberian Squill / Scilla siberica‘Alba’

You know winter is over when Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa luciliae) blooms its cheery star-like flowers. Essential to the early-spring garden is Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica‘Alba’), with pure white bells hanging in loose clusters. The all-yellow Narcissis ‘February Gold’ is one of the earliest daffodils and blooms about the same time as the not so common Iris reticulate – a very small, fragrant iris in glorious blues, white and yellow.

Choose all kinds of daffodils from small ones such as ‘Tete-a-Tete’ to taller ones such as ‘Thalia’ which are fragrant, all-white with multiple blooms on one stem. Add the white later-blooming Poet’s Daffodil ‘Pheasant’s Eye’ (Narcissus poeticus var. recurves) with tiny orange centers.

Ornamental Onions (Alliums) offer a sweet smelling June bloom. Combine them with Foxtail Lily’s (Eremurus) long spikes of flowers and you’ll have an early-summer garden drama. What a performance!

Garden Dilemmas Ask Mary Stone, Bulb choices to extend the bloom, Garden Tips

Allium with Eremurus

Garden dilemmas?



Chionodoxa luciliae

Chionodoxa luciliae

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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