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Midwest Regional Reports

Bulb Planting Season Is Here

Combinations to provide the perfect setting for these jewels of spring

Quaking sedge (Carex brizoides, Zones 4–8) makes a lovely green backdrop for these bulbs and masks fading foliage as bulbs go dormant. Photo: Erin Presley

The vibrant offerings of bulb catalogs are entrancing as summer becomes a memory and autumn cold creeps in. We’re already full of gardening ideas for the spring season ahead. Bulbs are affordable, oh-so-easy to plant, and offer the jewel-like tones we know we’ll be craving next spring. Bulb selections shine brighter when refined with appropriate knowledge of timing, combinations, and perennial plant partners to create a gorgeous garden setting. Consider these tips to maximize the longevity and effect of your spring bulb purchases.

‘Clairette’ reticulated iris and crocus
‘Clairette’ reticulated iris (Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’, Zones 5–9) blooms early alongside a species crocus (Crocus cv., Zones 3–8) in April. Photo: Erin Presley

Don’t forget minor bulbs

Here in Wisconsin, the smaller, earlier blooming bulbs easily withstand early spring weather vagaries like frost and snow. However, if unseasonably warm days appear in May, I’m often disappointed when the later blooming varieties of tulips (Tulipa spp. and…

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