Summer-Blooming Bulbs: Scores of Spectacular Bloomers for Your Summer GardenAfter the riotous spring blooms of tulips and daffodils fade, make your summer garden sizzle with spectacular summer-blooming blubs?beauties such as South African Galtonia and Tulbaghia and Near Eastern and Asian Eremurus and Colocasia, as well as more familiar lilies and gladioli. This colorful guide invites you to discover scores of stunning bulbs, the favorites of bulb experts from around the country, and provides foolproof advice on cultivation and year-round care.
- Introduction: Summer-Blooming Bulbs, by Beth Hanson
- A Buyer's Guide to Bulbs: What Gardeners Can Do to Protect Threatened Species, by Christopher S. Robbins
- Bulbous Botany, by Steven E. Clemants
- Year-round Care of Summer Bulbs, by Becky and Brent Heath
- Propagating Bulbous Plants, by Alessandro Chiari
- Designing with Summer-Flowering Bulbs, by Becky and Brent Heath
- Naturalizing Summer-Blooming Bulbs, by Becky and Brent Heath
- Growing Summer Bloomers in Containers, by Tovah Martin
- Pests and Diseases of Bulbs, by Jackie Fazio
- Encyclopedia of Summer-Blooming Bulbs, by C. Colston Burrell, Scott Canning, Nancy Goodwin, Chuck Levine
- USDA Hardiness Zone Map
- For More Information
Introduction: Summer-Blooming Bulbs
by Beth Hanson
I recently found myself at a local nursery rooting through several bins filled with bizarrely shaped brown lumps, some of which looked and felt a lot like old leather gardening gloves that had spent the winter in the compost pile. But this was the summer-bulb display, and these humble lumps are the source of some of the most spectacular blossoms and dramatic foliage of summer. To be botanically accurate, not all of these are true bulbs; some are corms, tubers, or rhizomes. These plants, which store the nutrients they need for their annual renewal and begin their growth underground, are known as "geophytes" (literally translated: "earth plants"). That many originate in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world is obvious: The boldly striped cannas, beach-umbrella-sized elephant ears, pineapple-shaped eucomises, and ginger lilies sporting flame-colored, torchlike blossoms can't deny their striking tropical heritage. But summer bulbs also shade into more subtle hues and forms: the delicately scented, pale pink flowers of x Amarcrinum memoria-corsii, the ethereal Chinese ground orchid, the lavender-blue clusters of flowers of the blue dicks, which sway in the breeze on wiry stems. Leaf through the "Encyclopedia of Summer-blooming Bulbs" and you will get a sense of their extensive range.
A few summer-flowering bulbs, such as lilies and Japanese iris above, have graced gardens for decades.
Most of these bulbs are tender north of Zone 5 and won't survive cold winters, but the variety, adaptability, and extended blooming time of these plants may make it worth nursing them through the winter indoors in colder areas. You'll have to dig up the bulbs around the date of the first frost and store them through their dormant season in a cool spot in slightly damp peat moss, then plant them out in the garden or a pot the following spring. Or it may even be worthwhile to use the less costly of these plants as annuals, replacing them year after year.
In addition to the encyclopedia, this volume provides lots more guidance on summer bulbs, starting with an introduction to their botanical features. Read on and you will learn how to care for these plants throughout the year, from planting to winter storage. You'll find tips on how to incorporate them into beds and borders with more familiar garden plants to show them off to best effect, as well as how to grow them in containers. You'll also learn how to propagate them and how to prevent and manage pests and diseases using the least toxic remedies available.
If you've never ventured into the world of bulbs beyond the ubiquitous daffodils, tulips, and crocuses of spring, this book is a call to action: Get bold! If it's spring as you read this, take a trip to your local garden center and check out the selection; or for a wider assortment, turn to the list of mail-order sources at the back of the book. Many nurseries now have web sites, where you can click through a multitude of photos. If it's fall or winter, kick back and fantasize about the amazing collages of textures, colors, and scents you'll be able to create when you begin weaving summer bulbs into your garden.