By Inez Mitchell, Master Gardener, SCMG
Looking for extra colour in your garden?
Plant summer blooming bulbs and tubers in the spring for beautiful summer flowers. Tuck them in between your perennials to create a fuller looking bed.
The hardier summer blooming bulbs, such as iris and daylilies can be planted fairly early in the season and not mind the cool soil. More tender bulbs such as begonias, dahlias, gladiolus, tropical cannas and caladiums should be planted when the soil is quite warm – later in the spring.
Many of the summer blooming bulbs also do well in containers – use them for colour on your deck or porch.
Planting tips: mix peat moss or compost with the soil to improve drainage and keep the summer blooming bulbs from rotting. Adding some bonemeal will boost root development. Fertilize monthly after planting and until foliage yellows – this will help replenish nutrients in the bulb for the following year.
One of the most popular flowers you can grow which will provide you with an abundance of blooms is the Dahlia. In just a single season, Dahlia plants will grow into a full bush, with brilliant blooms toward the end of the summer. There are a variety of sizes, unique colours and shapes to suit every garden. Dahlias are very productive – perfect for creating bouquets!
Some of the most spectacular shade loving plants are summer blooming bulbs such as caladiums, begonias and elephant ears. These high performing easy-care plants can make shady gardens just as exciting as sunny ones. They are great companions for hostas, astilbes and other shade loving perennials as well as annuals such as impatiens and coleus.
Caladiums have large, heart-shaped leaves with amazing colour combinations in red, green, pink and white. They are tropical and love heat and humidity. They also grow well in containers, either on their own or mixed with other plants such as coleus, begonias and elephant ears.
Elephant ears are exotic looking plants with leaves that may measure up to 3 feet across and many different foliage colours ranging from lime green to blue green to burgundy and almost black. They are sure to put on a spectacular show.