Bulbs for the Cottage Garden

Bulbs for the Cottage Garden
Various kinds of bulbs are suited to cottage gardens. These include hardy and tender ones.

The peonies are shining stars in the world of bulbs. Very long lived, these are easy to grow and a great addition to cottage gardens.

Hardy to zone two or so, these plants prefer full sun but will withstand some shade. A somewhat acid rich well drained soil is best.

The bushy, dense plants can reach 1½ to 3½ feet in height. Some peonies bear scented blooms. The flowering times is from late spring into early summer.

Peony blooms can be single, semi-double, or double. Colors include white, soft pink to deep pink, coral, and red.

Lily of the valley is a long time favorite for all types of flower beds and borders. Hardy to zone three, these are only ¾ to a foot in height. Preferring some shade, the plants do best in a rich, well drained soil. Most soil types are suitable.

Flowering is during late spring. The richly scented, tiny, bell-like blooms appear over a period of weeks. If possible, allow this plant enough room to spread.

The leaves tend to die back in late summer to fall. Although the species features white blossoms, there are varieties with pink ones. Some varieties feature variegated foliage. This bulb can bear attractive seed pods, which ripen in the fall to a lovely red.

Daffodils are a favorite for cottage gardens. There are so many types it can be hard to choose. Flower color, height, hardiness, and bloom time can vary greatly by variety or species. My favorites tend to be the heirlooms.

Snowdrops are among the earliest of the bulbs to bloom during late winter and extending into early spring. These are hardy to zone three or so. They’re only six inches or so in height.

Snowdrops do best in a well drained soil and tolerate heavy soils better than other bulbs. These are suited to full sun and part shade.

These bulbs are best known for the small white bell-like blooms with green tips.

Several kinds of lilies are typically grown in cottage gardens. Hardiness can vary slightly, but is generally to zone three or so. These include regal lily, hardy to zone three. This can bear up to thirty blooms per stem. The bulb needs full sun and usually need staking. All soil types are suitable.

The tiger lily is an easy to grow, very reliable bulb with spectacular blossoms.

Of the more tender summer bulbs, the cannas are a perfect choice. These are hardy to zone eight. Elsewhere, they need to be dug before the first frost. Cannas are very easy to grow. These bear vividly colored blooms from late summer through the fall. The plant height can vary but can be up to six feet or more.

Cannas do best in a sunny spot with a reasonably rich soil. The showy flowers can be orange, yellow, red, peach, or pink with some being bicolors. Some cannas also feature very colorful foliage as well.

Dahlias are delightful choices for cottage gardens. These easy to grow, sturdy plants are quite free flowering.

Plant these in full sun in a rich well drained soil. Gardeners will find a bewildering number of dahlia varieties available. The plant size (from dwarf to six feet) as well as the flower type and color varies greatly.

Dahlias are hardy in zone seven through eleven. Elsewhere, treat them as annuals. The free flowering plants bear blossoms throughout the summer and fall up until frost. The flower type, color, and flower size can vary greatly. Some are semi-double or double.

Gladiolus bulbs are quite suited to cottage gardens. Hardy to zone eight, these are treated as annuals elsewhere.

These plants do best in a rich, well drained soil in full sun. Gladiolus blossoms are quite showy and open from the bottom of the stem upwards. The flowers open from late spring through the fall, depending on the type. The plant height and flower color varies greatly. Keep gladiolus well watered for best results.

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