Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Fall is for planting. In most areas of the U.S., there is still time to plant some spring flowering bulbs for cut flowers. Then, you’ll have lots of stems to use in bouquets throughout the spring months in 2005.
So many kinds of bulbs are suitable. Let’s start by looking at a few of them.
The flowering onions (Allium spp.) are a perfect choice for mid and late spring. Some even bloom in early summer as well. The very large drumstick kind is the most spectacular, but even the shorter ones are attractive. In catalogs, these are sold under various common names.
Camass or quamash is a great cut flower. Most of these species are native to the western U.S., but there is an eastern species as well. These bulbs are available in catalogs. Blossoms open on tall spikes in May and June, and are usually blue, white, or purple.
For cut flowers, a popular choice is always the hyacinths. These gorgeous blossoms are long-lasting. They’re so sweetly scented that a few are enough to perfume an entire room. These usually open in April and May.
One of my favorite bulbs for cut flowers is the Dutch iris. They are available in a range of colors, including everything from blues and purples to yellows, white, and cream.
No spring would be complete without a big bouquet of daffodils. Because there are so many kinds, you can take your pick from short to tall ones, and early to late-blooming kinds. The light to medium yellows seem to be most common. But there are some gorgeous pink-flowered kinds as well. These would be perfect for romantic bouquets. With daffodils, there is one other thing to consider when buying the bulbs for cut flower gardens. Some only have one bloom per stem, while others are multi-flowering. ‘Cheerfulness White’ would be an outstanding choice. Atop the tall, straight stem are four or five fluffy blooms. For some contrast, go with ‘Barrett Browning’ with a deep orange cup surrounded by white petals.
Ranunculus is often grown as cut flowers. These aren’t hardy in colder areas of the country. They usually bloom from April to May.
Among the other fine bulbs for cut flower gardens are the peonies. These have huge showy blossoms that usually open from about April to June. Some are semi or fully double. A few kinds are pollen-free.
With so many kinds of lilies available, it hardly seems fair to single any of them out for attention. These are the quintessential cut flower for summer.
That brings us to one of the most popular bulbs for cut flowers—the tulip. Tulips have long been a favorite among gardeners and floral designers. When it comes to these bulbs, you have many choices to make. You’ll need to consider color, flower type and size, and bloom time. The low-growing ones aren’t suitable for most designs, as the stems are very dwarf. Choose ones that are suited to your intended purposes. For more formal arrangements, the single type blooms are best. The classic colors are red, pink, and white. For innovative and contemporary designs, choose the more fancy, unusual kinds. These might include ones with fringed, fluffy, or striped petals.
If you plant some spring blooming bulbs now during the fall months, you’ll have no shortage of cut flowers.