It's almost too late...

November 8, 2013 Panayoti Kelaidis , Senior Curator & Director of Outreach

Tulipa humilis 'Albomaculata Caerulea'  Tulipa humilis 'Albomaculata Caerulea' 

I know you have a few bulbs you picked up at the Gardens fall sale still lurking in your porch! Or perhaps you have altogether forgotten and assume that since Thanksgiving is fast approaching it's too late to plant bulbs? In a few months when gems like this are blooming in your neighbor's garden (or mine, which is where I took this picture) you will experience great remorse:  "Why oh why didn't I plant a few more bulbs?"

Tulips at DBG  Waterlily tulips in the Perennial Walk at the Gardens

Looking at the sea of tulips in April it's hard to believe this border billows up with giant perennials later in the season. No matter how full your garden may SEEM to be, there is always room for another couple hundred bulbs! Tulips in particular can be planted safely right up to Christmas and put on a great show. You should hurry up and get those crocuses and daffodils in the ground however. This coming week is predicted to be unseasonably warm! What a great way to celebrate Indian summer than to plant some bulbs?

Iris reticulata 'Harmony'  Iris reticulata 'Harmony'

I, for one, could NEVER have enough of the early bulbous irises. The reticulate irises come from the high mountains of Iran and Turkey, a climate very similar to Denver. They show it by forming huge clumps in a few years time. They make a fabulous show every March in the El Pomar Garden (which is being dramatically renovated as I type this--better come check!)...

Foxtail lilies  Foxtail lilies in the Ornamental Grasses garden

Not strictly speaking bulbs, foxtail lilies (Eremurus) have succulent, octopus like rootstalks that are treated like bulbs--and can still be planted (if you can get your hands on them). These are mightily popular hereabouts because of the displays here at the Gardens in late spring and summer. I've often thought we should rename ourselves "Foxtail Lily Botanic Garden" in June when they're all in bloom in so many gardens--truly a spectacle!

Red emperor tulips in Plantasia in April  Red emperor tulips in PlantAsia in May

Can't get enough of those tulips. Hard to believe we're only four months before the first tulips may start to open at the Gardens (the species always start in March!). Better hurry up and see if you can't still get a few at the local garden centers, which generally still have some on hand. There is a much greater variety of bulbs at independent garden centers than anywhere except the Web--and many of the better bulb merchants on the web are offering discounts now (and their prices are generally cheaper too).

Crocus pulchellus  Crocus pulchellus in the Rock Alpine Garden

Alas! you are too late to plant autumn crocuses and bulbs by and large. They should have been in the ground a month or more ago--but you are not too late to see these at Denver Botanic Gardens. I just strolled through the Rock Alpine Garden and saw half a dozen kinds of fall crocuses. Some, like Crocus speciosus and Crocus goulimyi, in swell numbers. These will surely inspire you to rush out and get a few of their springtime cousins in the ground!


Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Sign up for our e-newsletters!