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Fall-Planted Blue Bulbs

The Martha Stewart Show, October 2010

Bulbs should be planted during the fall to ensure a garden full of beautiful flowers come spring.

For a dramatic and modern landscape, Sally Ferguson, director of the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center, suggests planting bulbs that flower in varying shades of blue.

When selecting bulbs, be sure to consider the attributes of each flower, including color, height, and blooming time. Mixing plants that grow short and tall and bloom during early, mid-, and late spring will result in stunning combinations that bring color to your garden all season long.

Tommies (Crocus Tommisinianus)

An early-spring-, late-winter-blooming bulb, Tommies grow in a low carpet of egg-shaped flowers that open wide to the daytime sun and close when light wanes in the evening. Added bonus: squirrels, a consummate garden pest, do not like to eat Tommies.

Blue Twosome: Glory-of-the-Snow and Wood Squill (Chionodoxa and Scilla)

The same size and shade of blue, this brilliant combination of bulbs blooms in mid-spring. While they will grow well most anywhere, "the blue twosome" does particularly well in lightly shaded woodland areas or as an underplanting to other spring flowers.

Starflower (Ipheion)

The elegant starflower, a particular favorite of Sally's, produces extraordinarily long-lasting and fragrant flowers. Related to onions, their leaves release a subtle garlicky scent when stepped on. Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)

Blooming in mid- to late-spring for four to five weeks on average, the long-lasting grape hyacinths produce softly fragrant cobalt-blue flowers. As an added bonus, the plant produces leaves in fall that can serve as a helpful reminder of their location.

Camassia or Quamash (Camassia)

Camassia is a large plant that will grow to approximately three feet tall after about three years in the garden. Originally discovered by explorers Lewis and Clark in 1806, this late-spring-, early-summer-blooming bulb thrives in damp conditions.

Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides Hispanica)

For a broad sweep of blue, plant lots of Spanish bluebells. A late-spring-blooming bulb, the Spanish bluebell will grow equally well in moist, shaded woodland areas and drier, sun-kissed soil.

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