Spring in the Home Garden

I have always loved flowering bulbs and have planted 10,000 of them over the last three years in my tiny garden.

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The blooming sequence starts with "Tommy" crocuses and snowdrops. The most prolifically multiplying snowdrops are Galanthus nivalis shared with me by Nancy Goodwin at Montrose in Hillsborough, NC. She sent only 15 or so through the mail a half dozen years ago. They are a fond reminder of my gardening friendship with Nancy, which goes back 30 years. One of my favorite early bulbs is Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’, medium pink, and most importantly, vigorously growing into clumps - I plant a few more every year. They flower in March in Seattle and go dormant almost immediately. Brent and Becky’s Bulbs is a dependable source for them.

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I have daffodils spotted throughout and my mainstay is 'Rapture', a stately solid yellow variety that blooms early. It replaces the old 'Peeping Tom', which is virused and is no longer dependable from the usual sources. I tend to like the varieties with reflexed petals because the simple flower form is elegant and animated. 'Ara' is a white and cream bi-color which is shorter in stature, 'Topolino' is very early along with 'W.P. Milner'. I also have a large collection of 'Hoop Petticoats' that start to flower as early as November as they are from North Africa and the Mediterranean. These are expensive and difficult to find for purchase, but cheery in small quantities. Arrowhead Alpines is a good source for them.

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I do splurge on a display of tulips. In the front garden I plant Red and Apricot 'Impression' tulips and in the back, ‘Yellow Purissima’, T. crysantha ‘Tubergen’s Gem’, and ‘Salmon Impression’. They make a splash and I add a few more every second and third year. The warm colors look wonderful with the vermillion paint color of my home.

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I grow many species tulips in my crevice garden because they prefer very fast draining soil.  I have used an 80% sand mix for the alpine plants grown there.

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A variety of alliums will flower in May, June, and July along with hybrid lilies. More to come later.

Richard Hartlage

Richard Hartlage is the founding principal and CEO of Land Morphology. His award-winning, innovative designs are renowned as emotive, immersive spaces that incorporate sophisticated horticulture, artful detailing, and historical knowledge that heighten the human experience of the natural world. His passion for horticulture, cultivated over fifteen years working public gardens and estates, is applied to each design from the conceptual phase through development of maintenance protocol and beyond.