Lesser-known flowering bulbs add interest to spring gardens

By Larry Sagers

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Sept. 30 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

Most all are native to temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere, but some are found south of the equator. Most could be used as food but are not equally flavorful. Their strong odor and taste make them unappealing to most garden mammals.

The flowers are umbels, and the outside flowers bloom first and flowering progresses to the stalks several feet high with lower clusters of a diameter of 8 inches or even more. By far the most popular color is purple, but other colors include white, yellow and blue.

While I do not like to throw a wet blanket on any spring flowering bulbs, there are two I cannot recommend.

Star of Bethlehem has an attractive white flower. However, the bulbs and the seeds escape from the flower beds and into the lawn and other beds. They are extremely difficult to control once they escape. Likewise, grape hyacinths can also become very weedy.

Garden tips, events

Thanksgiving Point is offering a class on creating fabulous fall color in your landscape on Oct. 2, 9, 16 and 23 from 10 a.m.-noon. Cost is $43.

For more information or to register, call 801-768-4971 or log on to www.thanksgivingpoint.com.

Red Butte Garden is offering a bulb forcing workshop on Oct. 13 from 10 a.m.-noon.

Participants will be provided with four 6-inch terra cotta pots, soil, selected bulbs and instructions for forcing. The workshop will be held at the Red Butte Garden greenhouses. Registration required. Call 801-581-8454. Cost is $45 for members, $55 for nonmembers.

Larry A. Sagers is a horticulture specialist for the Utah State University Extension Service at Thanksgiving Point.

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