Summer bulbs beautify public green spaces from June until far into the autumn. Added to roundabouts, flower beds and containers, they create a colourful and varied streetscape. Many summer bulbs play an important role in biodiversity. Some of them such as the Blazing Star (Liatris) and the single and semi-double dahlias are important sources of nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies.
Summer bulbs are beautiful in large clusters but also when combined with perennials and other summer bulbs, a good example being the Crocosmia with dahlias and canna lilies. They are planted from March through April (after the danger of frost has passed). This way, they take up where the spring bulbs have finished flowering and thus prevent bare spots.
Many varieties of summer bulbs are suitable for plantings in public green spaces:
Crocosmia (previously known as Montbretia)
Its stunning red, orange or yellow flowers appear from July to September. After flowering, the decorative berries produced by many varieties turn from green to red.
The small-flowering (G. nanus) varieties and the Abyssinian Lily (G. accidi) will thrive in public green spaces. The first of these is available in many colours. Although the second comes in only white with a maroon centre, it is very sweetly scented.
All types of lilies are suitable for public green spaces; these range from the dwarf Asiatic lilies that grow no taller than 30 centimetres to the Trumpet lilies that can reach higher than a metre. Most of them will emerge year after year.
Begonias are perfect for planting in parks. They are colourful summer-flowering plants that keep on producing masses of flowers for months at a time.
Spider Lily (Hymenocallis)
Spider lilies might be less familiar but are ideal for parks. They start blooming in late May; their buds open into stunning flowers that resemble the shape of spiders. Their pleasant sweet fragrance is most apparent in the evening.
Canna Lily (Canna)
This summer bulb blooms from July to October. But its foliage in a range of colours also makes it attractive. Canna lilies will need to be mulched to protect them from frost.
This is one of the most familiar summer bulbs. The range of dahlia varieties is huge and so is the variation in their flower and leaf colours, flower shapes and heights. They just keep on blooming until the first frost.
Tiger Flower (Tigridia)
Its English name – Tiger Flower – refers to the spotted markings on its flowers. The Tiger Flower blooms from July until October, and its leaves resemble those of gladioli.