You’ve heard it said that April showers bring May flowers, and even though it’s only January, it’s never too early to start thinking about your spring flower beds. For many homeowners, half the fun of landscaping in the spring is the planning, and there’s no better time to start.
If there’s one way to make sure that your spring gets off to a colorful start this year, it’s by planting new and colorful bulbs. In fact, with a bit of research and planning, you can control the entire color scheme of your landscaping for three out of four seasons with bulbs alone. To make things easy on yourself, choose bulbs that “naturalize” (come back each year) to prevent buying and replanting your bulbs each year.
Some options for you to consider include the ever-popular tulip and daffodil, but if you want to step outside the box, consider options like allium (otherwise known as the flowering onion) and glory-of-the-snow, which brings a star-shaped bright blue blossom early in the season to contrast against any lingering snow. The latter is hardy in zones 3 through 8, so it does exceptionally well in the Chicago area.
Though it may be too late in the winter season to utilize this tip this season, be sure to file it away for next fall. Many seeds require a good winter before they’ll take hold and sprout, and these include everything from foxglove to hollyhock and even corn poppies. Many of these seeds will self-sow once they’ve been established, and they’ll offer plenty of pops of color all throughout the spring once they do. Just head outdoors at the end of the growing season and scatter each seed where you want it to grow. Nature will handle the rest.
In the Chicago area, you’ll need to wait until the official start of spring to get your perennials and biennials in the ground, but they should be among the first things you plant each year. Peonies, foxgloves, pansies, and other bare-root perennials should go in the ground in early spring in order to give them time to establish their roots. If you’ll grow your perennials and biennials in containers, which is always a great idea in the northern Midwest, you can plant them as soon as the ground thaws.
Spring is still a few weeks off, and that means you have time to order plants from just about anywhere in the world. If you want something different for 2019, check out offerings from countries like Holland or Google international flower catalogs. Sometimes the best-looking flowers at the best prices are available online, and with the USDA’s zone chart and a bit of research, it’s pretty easy to plan your Spring flower garden.
Avid gardeners await spring like small children await the holidays; the excitement of seeing a year’s worth of prep and labor come to fruition is incredible. It may not be spring quite yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start getting things ready now, whether you opt to shop for bulbs, check out some catalogs, or start putting a few perennials and biennials in containers.
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