Does your garden look ragged and dispirited by June, when spring-flowering bulbs have finished blooming? Extend your bulb season with summer-flowering bulbs! Summer bulbs will provide the scent and colour to revitalize your garden, and mix beautifully with your existing perennials and shrubs.
Ixia ‘Mabel’, for instance, grows 12-20 inches tall and smothers itself in hot-pink blooms in early summer. Ixia ‘Tita’ has masses of soft apricot-pink shading to warm red-pink. Both are equally attractive in containers or borders, or even planted along a garden path between groundcover plants.
Early blooming groundcovers such as Ajuga, Aubrieta, and Phlox divaricata can look dull in summer, and summer bulbs such as Ixia will rejuvenate these sections of your garden.
The Harlequin flower, (Sparaxis tricolor), is another early-summer bulb that adds a color punch to tired borders or perks up walkways and patios. Each of the tiny, star-shaped flower on these bulbs has a black heart, and the flower masses are a cheerful mix of bright colours. Growing 10 inches tall, Harlequin flowers are superb in flower bulbs pots or in borders in front of larger perennials. Try some as well around herbs such as lavender and rosemary, whose soft colored foliage is a great contrast to Sparaxis’ vivid blooms. You might also want to try some at the feet of Lilies:
Lilies are the Kings of the summer bulb border and like to have low-growing plants at their feet. The distinctive sword-like foliage and gigantic blooms of lily bulbs are magnificent in themselves, but lilies are also magnificent season-spanners. To make the most of your lilies, choose a variety of classes for continuous bloom from June through late August. The Asiatic Hybrid Bulbs - early summer bulbs - most of which grow about 2 feet tall, are the first to bloom, usually in June. Trumpet or aurelian lilies, such as ‘Golden Splendor’ and ‘Regale’, bloom between late June through August; These summer flowering bulbs have large trumpet-shaped flowers and grow 4 to 5 feet tall.
Lililum Red Night (Knight)
Oriental lilies, such as ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Casa Blanca’, are true summer bulbs that bloom between July and September, and grow 2 ½ to 4 feet tall. They are some of the favourite of all summer flowering bulbs. While there are many other classes of lilies, a variety of just these three types will fill your garden with gorgeous colour and scent throughout the summer. Use lily bulbs by making colourful bouquets in your perennial border: mix the bulbs with perennials like Astrantia and Centranthus or grow them in pots as elegant accents.
Dwarf varieties such as the Gallery series grow only 12 inches tall, while some full-sized dahlias will reach 6 feet! The flower shapes range from the perfectly tight round ball of the pompom through the array of spikes of the cactus-flowered. Small pompom forms such as ‘Deepest Yellow’, which grows 2 feet tall, are ideal for brightening up areas where low growing perennials have already stopped blooming or for the front of a border.
Larger forms such as ‘Duet’, a decorative with white-tipped red flowers that grows 30 to 33 inches tall, are exquisite companions to other perennials in the border like white Japanese anemones or cimicifuga or to other Dahlias, like ‘Eveline’. No matter which Dahlias you choose, they’ll all bloom continuously from July until whenever frost arrives.
The list for summer flowering bulbs is endless, and we will be filling these pages with more information on how to get your borders and beds alive in the summer - as well as spring - with summer bulbs.