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Earliest Spring Blooming Bulbs

Gardening should not be a competitive sport, but there is, nevertheless, a certain satisfaction in being first — and in spring, when the world (and the neighborhood) longs for bright color, having the very first spring-flowering bulbs in bloom elevates a gardener’s status from good neighbor to horticultural hero.

The garden is transformed when spring-flowering bulbs come into bloom. The days may still be nippy, but cool spring temperatures are just right for daffodils, crocus, tulips, and other spring-flowering bulbs. Here is a quick look at some of the earliest bulbs to bloom. Plant them in fall, and on a chilly day in spring, bundle up and enjoy the show. Your neighbors will thank you.


— Snowdrops really don’t care about the weather. These very early blooming bulbs, with pretty white flowers dangling on delicate stems, will push right up through the snow. If it’s too cold to enjoy them for long in the garden, pick a few flowers for a little vase indoors. They’ll warm you right up.


— A bright little pool of crocus is one of the most cheering signs of spring. ‘Vanguard’ is among the earliest to bloom; pretty ‘Blue Pearl’ snow crocus are also especially early. Giant Crocus vernus cultivars such as ‘Yellow Mammoth’, ‘Grand Maitre’, and the dapper, striped ‘Pickwick’) bloom a little later but still long before most other bulbs. Plant them by the dozens.


— Elegant miniature Iris reticulata are spring sophisticates. These showy little iris draw you out into the garden to appreciate their perfect form and rich color. Intense, deep blue ‘Harmony’ and pale blue ‘Cantab’ both have a bright yellow spot. They grow only a few inches tall; plant lots of them along the front walk, where you can’t miss them as you come and go.


— The first bright yellow daffodil acclaim the certain triumph of spring. Golden yellow ‘Peeping Tom’ blooms ahead of the pack; its long trumpet and slightly reflexed petals give it an upswept look. ‘February Gold’ is another fine early daffodil, with elegant, long-lasting flowers. The bold, ruffled yellow trumpets of ‘Dutch Master’ light up the landscape.


— Most tulips come into bloom after the daffodils are already well into their show, but there are some exceptions. Some species tulips, and tulips in the Fosteriana and Kaufmanniana groups, are a little bit precocious. To secure the first tulip blooms on the block, plant ‘Juan’, ‘Orange Emperor’, or the bright pink species tulip ‘Humilis Helena’. Look for Single Early tulips like the yellow and red ‘Mickey Mouse’ or the heirloom cultivar ‘Keizerskroon’. It’s been around since 1750, and it’s still a winner.
Read the next Article: Growing Rhubarb

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • If your corn crop didn’t produce well last season it could be due to several of these common problems:
    * Seeds were planted too close together and became overcrowded.
    * Plants did not receive enough fertilizer. Corn is a heavy feeder and especially needs nitrogen for optimal development.
    * Crop was not adequately weeded or watered when weather was dry.
    * Weather was too cold before corn could mature. Try using a hybrid corn variety bred for shorter growing seasons.
    * Corn was poorly pollinated. To prevent poor pollination, plant corn in blocks instead of long rows.
    * Crop was not rotated or stalks were left in the garden over the winter. Rotate corn to a different place every year and remove old foliage to prevent disease and insect problems. Plant a cover crop to renew soil where corn was growing.