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Syracuse, New York
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Bulb Foliage and Snow

Too Late to Plant?

Questions of the Week

Spring and Summer-Flowering Bulbs

Daffodils are practically fool-proof in Central New York gardens!You've got your daffodils, your crocus, your tulips, and maybe some snowdrops and hyacinth. Oh, and maybe a few summer-flowering lilies, too? And that pretty much does it for bulbs appropriate for Central New York gardens, right?

Well, not exactly.

First, several of the suppliers I work with offer close to 200 different cultivated varieties of daffodils and a similar number of tulips. Some of these bloom in early to mid-March while others don't finish blooming until mid- to late May, or even early June!

The buttercup yellow blooms of winter aconite and nodding white flowers of snowdrops are the earliest of all spring-flowering bulbs.In addition to nearly 400 varieties of daffodils and tulips, they offer more than thirty other "bulb" species.

Just a few of my favorites are the early March-blooming winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), the mid- to late May-blooming camas lily or wild hyacinth (Camassia species), and the September into October-blooming hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium).

Autumn crocus are always a surprise when they come into bloom in late September!And, finally, some "bulbs" aren't bulbs at all!

Crocus and gladiolus, for example, arise from "corms." Meanwhile, "tubers" give rise to my favorite hardy cyclamen and winter aconite. And, two of the most commonly-grown summer-flower bulbs, tall bearded iris and canna lilies, come up from modified underground stems called "rhizomes."

If you're now totally confused, don't worry. Because of the incredible diversity of bulbs, corms and tubers that can be grown in Central New York gardens, there's never a shortage of questions regarding these fascinating plants.

To see for yourself, just click on any of the links, at right!