An underground flower factory
Flowers can’t help but make you happy. And the more flowers you have, the happier you feel. Summer bulbs with their many colours and sweet scents are perfect for bringing joy into your life. Summer bulbs (a term also used for corms and tubers) are actually an underground storage shed and flower factory all in one. Bulbs contain everything it takes to generate their flowers at just the right time. Since it takes a number of weeks to begin the process of producing leaves and flowers, you should plant them early enough in the spring. All they need are a little love and the right spot to grow.
The popular Dahlia
Summer bulbs are available in a wide range of shapes, colours and sizes. The most famous one is the Dahlia. And it’s become all the rage in recent years. Why? For one thing, it comes in so many flower shapes and colours. For another, dahlias just keep blooming and blooming. And they don’t stop until the first frost. You can play a part in this yourself, simply by removing any spent flowers. This is like telling the plant that it has to get busy and produce more flower buds. What happens next is masses of flowers that will make you smile again and again.
Lilies are the real gems of the garden, many of which will flower again in the following year. Their tropical-looking flowers composed of vivid or pastel-coloured tapered petals add a sunny look to a garden. You could even imagine you’re on holiday! The size of their flowers ranges from as small as a child’s hand to larger than a football. You can find them in practically every colour and colour combination, either scented or unscented. Asiatic lilies have very little if any fragrance, while Oriental lilies produce that typical scent we associate with lilies – and which makes them so popular. Certain lilies are so tall (2.5 metres), they are sometimes called ‘tree lilies’. This makes them perfect for creating contrasts in height.
But the more familiar dahlias and lilies aren’t the only kinds of summer bulbs that can lift your spirits in the garden. Others include gladioli with their sword-shaped leaves, the cup-like calyces of calla lilies (Zantedeschia), bright colourful begonias, bold pineapple lilies (Eucomis), fiery crocosmias (Montbretia), charming freesias, and (what could say summer better?) canna lilies (Canna). A combination of various summer bulbs in the garden provides a real explosion of colourful flowers that attract a host of bees and butterflies. The buzzing and fluttering of insects is such a joy, and knowing you are providing for them – even indirectly – is quite a bonus, too.
Summer bulbs, corms and tubers should be planted once the danger of frost has passed. This is usually from late April to the end of May. Lilies, however, are an exception. Lily bulbs can be planted earlier than this because they can tolerate a certain degree of frost. Summer bulbs are already available in retail locations and at webshops weeks before the planting period. They often start showing up in these sales channels in February. This gives you an opportunity to get them home in time and not to miss out on your favourites. Between buying and planting your bulbs, you can store them with no ill effects in a place that’s dry, cool and dark.