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South Regional Reports

Unique Bulbs for the Southern Garden

Fill your garden with a mix of time-tested classics and rare finds

Summer snowflake is a spring-blooming bulb with long lasting blooms. Photo: Michelle Gervais

The term “bulb” has become a generic term for the assortment of “true” bulbs, corms, tubers, and even rhizomes we may plant in fall or spring. What I really mean to say when I say “bulb” is “geophyte.” A geophyte—geo- (“earth”) +‎ -phyte (“plant”)—is a perennial plant that bears its buds below the surface of the soil. However, when we think about bulbs in fall, our mind most likely goes to the promise of an ephemeral flash of spring brilliance. Planting a variety of geophytes or bulbs in fall is an important way to embrace all that the plant world has to offer.

‘Lady Jane’ tulip
‘Lady Jane’ is a species tulip that stands a good chance of perennializing in your garden. Photo: Steve Aitken

First, for those reading this who have not gardened in the South for very long, let me talk about tulips. Tulips (Tulipa spp. and cvs., Zones 3–8)…

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