Bulb-planting season has arrived, but before you pop in your tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and crocus, why not consider some more unusual options to provide you with plenty of colour next spring?
If you like the idea of a vivid blue border or a carpet of colour under a tree in March 2015, how about planting some Glory of the Snow, otherwise known as Chionodoxa? These will also thrive in containers, and a good variety is the C. forbesii, with its lovely blue flowers and delicate white centres. For a little colour variation, try the blue-lavender C. luciliae or the C. luciliae rosea, which will deliver a delicious pink glow.
Fill your garden with a delicious honey aroma next March and April thanks to starry-bloomed ipheions. You don’t have to plant that many, as their self-seeding capacity means that your stock will increase rapidly and you may even be in store for a second flower show in the autumn. Choose I. Albert Castillo if you want dazzling white flowers boasting a subtle grey stripe, or if blue is your colour, consider Jessie or Wisley Blue.
Dog’s tooth violets, or erythroniums, are on the pricey side for bulbs, but they are worth it if you want borders filled with enchanting flowers that will return year after year. They will love being planted beneath a deciduous tree, and there is a wide range of colour options available. Enjoy the innocence of White Beauty or perhaps the sunny pale yellow Pagoda is more to your taste. If you are looking for some pink blooms, meanwhile, try the E. dens-canis variety.
An exotic choice for borders, beds and pots is bellevalia, another bulb that is not cheap but is often worth every penny you pay. The deep purple blooms of bellevalia paradoxa are as exotic-looking as they come and combine perfectly with the pretty white B. romana.