This Week in the Garden: Summer Bulbs to Plant Now

Photo Courtesy of DeVroomen Garden Products

If you’re looking to start something inside to plant outside for the summer, these bulbs are something that are worth the consideration.  Although they will have to be dug up and stored in Fall (or purchased again next Spring) they add unique and exotic beauty around every landscape.

De Caen anemone (Anemone coronaria ‘De Caen’) is an exquisite flowering plant that makes a perfect specimen plant in a pot on the deck or as a group planted into the garden, growing 6”-8” (15-20cms) tall with a similar spread.  Rising above a mound of finely lobed foliage, the delicate, almost tissue paper-like petals nod and sway in the breeze and live up to their common name, Windflowers.  The real delight of these beauties is the colours of the blossoms:  rich jewel tones of red, purple and violet contrasted around a black central eye or pure white petals growing around a cream-coloured eye.  Not winter hardy here, they need to be dug and stored for the winter.

Ranunculus (Ranunculus sp.) are well used in the floral industry and used in many bridal bouquets.  They resemble a miniature tissue paper rose with layer after layer of delicate, feathery petals around an almost hidden yellow eye. The claw-like corm of these flowers can be planted now ready to be placed outdoors as soon as the danger of frost is over.  Once the plant begins to flower (about 90 days after planting) they will continue to bloom for 4 to 6 weeks.  Like their cousin, the anemone, they have a huge range of magnificent colours:  peach, salmon, apricot blush, plum, pink, cream and pure white to name a few.  If the name ranunculus sounds familiar, it grows here as a native wildflower, the buttercup!

Freesia (Freesia sp.) is another beauty well used in the floral industry.  Growing 12”-15” (15cm-35cm) high, the stem looks like an upside down hockey stick with flowers blooming in succession down its blade.  The delicate looking flowers are quite sturdy and come in white, yellow and violet. Freesia’s other outstanding attribute is its scent – honey sweet, with a delicate peppery bouquet that gently wafts through the air.

Acidanthera is the unfortunate name the garden industry has for these corms and does not reflect the exotic blooms that this plant produces.  I have heard it referred to a Peacock Orchid, which far better reflects its true beauty. Planted in groups of 10 or more, expect a showstopper of gently nodding white flowers with ruby coloured throats growing on stems with straplike foliage growing to a height of 3’(1m). Bloom time is in late summer to early fall, just at a time when many other flowers have finished for the season.  They are a member of the gladiolus family and their overwintering care is much the same.

As a former florist, I have always considered these four flowers to be some of the most feminine blooms on hand, suitable for baby girls, sweet sixteens, brides, Mother’s Day or grannies.  Take the opportunity to know and grow these delicate looking beauties.

Garth Davey

March 2021

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