Garden plants grow in all sizes, shapes and colors. One of the more fascinating creations of nature is the bulb. These are nature's little packages that allow a flowering plant to shrink down into a little safe-house during imperfect weather conditions only to energize back into life when temperatures and moisture are more to the plant's liking.Bulb Iris in bloom

Because bulbs store energy in these little living containers, they become virtually invisible in the garden for much of the year. This means this is a whole category of garden flower that can easily be overlooked at planting time. Yet bulbs produce some of the showiest blooms in the garden and can color to the garden when other annuals and perennials are still in winter sleep or simply looking dull.

For the most part, these plants don't have long periods of bloom, but when they do come into flower, they are usually real eye-catchers. After flowering, the foliage should be allowed to yellow and die down before it is removed. The food produced by those leaves will sink down into that storehouse below ground and form the basis for new growth for next year. If you cut off the leaves, there will likely be no new underground formation and nothing to growth in the future. A good way to hide the unattractive foliage as it dies back is to tie it up or slip it down behind surrounding shrubs or taller growing plants. When it pulls away from the ground easily, you can remove the browning foliage safely.

An easy way to make small bulbs grow so they look like nature has planted them is to toss them gently where you want them to grow and set them where they fall naturally. Larger bulbs can be planted so the form lines, borders or even designs. Tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are perfect for this use.

Small bulbs can grow into large colonies and carpet hillsides, naturalize into lawns, edge gardens or burst into bloom between out-of-flower neighboring plants. Here is a video of some early, low-growing bulbs that are coming into bloom in late winter.


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There are so many bulbs you can design into the landscape garden. You can choose from low-growers, bouquets of color or even towering giants. Some have showy foliage. Some magnificent flowers. Some bulbs have unusual forms or flowers. If you plant bulbs at different times of the year you can choreograph your blooms to add life to the garden throughout your growing season. Feel free to tuck them between other plants so you can hide their spent blooms and dying foliage when they finish blooming. And early blooming bulbs naturalized at the edges of your lawn will have finished displaying their flowers by the time the lawn needs mowing.

So keep in mind using flower bulbs to add life to your garden. Most are easy to grow and bulbs come in an amazing assortment of colors, forms and growth habits so you can work them into almost any design.