While the rest of the garden is still asleep, spring-flowering bulbs like snowdrops, glory-of-the-snow and crocuses are already in bloom. How do they do it? During the autumn and winter, flower bulbs are storing nutrients in the scales of their bulbs. This reserve energy allows them to start growing and flowering so early in the season. These are true spring flowers, and ones you can also grow in your own garden.
In the Netherlands, a large number of these spring flowers are classified as stinzen bulbs. These are the flower bulbs that were planted centuries ago to make the gardens and country estates surrounding stately mansions look even more impressive. As the years passed, these spring-flowering bulbs naturalised: they increased in number to create beautiful drifts of flowers. Although they look as if they originated here, they were actually discovered by adventurers and botanists who had brought them to Western Europe.
After the stinzen bulbs, but still very early in the spring, we see the emergence of woodland flora. These spring flowers, such as wood anemones, grow under large groups of trees. They have to grow and flower early since the trees will soon be coming into leaf. After all, once this happens, the woodland floor will receive very little light. Since these flower bulbs will thrive in dry infertile soil, they are the perfect plants to cover the soil beneath trees and shrubs.
A list of spring flowers
If you want to enjoy the earliest spring flowers, be sure to plant them in your garden in the autumn so you can start appreciating them even before spring has sprung. This way, your green oasis will be in bloom even longer. Here are some flower bulbs you could use for this:
- Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
- Woodland Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris)
- Wood Anemone (Anemone nemerosa)
- Ramsons (Allium ursinum)
- Dog’s Tooth Violet (Erythronium dens-canis)
- Chequered Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)
- Nodding Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans)
- Crocus (Crocus)
- Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis)
- Spring Snowflake (Leucojum vernum)
- Grecian Windflower (Anemone blanda)
- Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica)
- Snowdrops (Galanthus)
- Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa)
- Fumewort (Corydalis solida)
- Poet’s Daffodil (Narcissus poeticus)
- Winter Aconite (Eranthis)
- Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)