Daffodils, hyacinths and tulips are well known for their spring beauty. $1There are also other kinds of spring bulbs that can extend the blooming season from March until June and are well worth trying.
One of the first to bloom is Eranthis, or Winter Aconite, with its yellow buttercup flowers. Favorite varieties are pink-stemmed Cilicica and Hyemalis.
Another early bloomer is Galanthus, or snowdrop, with frosty white bell-like flowers, which spread rapidly when you divide the bulbs. The most popular variety is Navalis, with narrow strap-shaped leaves and pure white flowers on five- to seven-inch stems. Another favorite, Flore Pleno, has two white flowers on each stem.
Blooming just after Galanthus and growing to about the same height is Chionodoxa, or glory of the snow, with sky-blue starry flowers with white centers. Varieties include Gigantea and Sardensis of gentian blue and Liciliae, bright blue with a white center.
One of the most adaptable of all the spring bloomers is the crocus, in many colors from the time snow is still on the ground to mid-spring when tulips arrive. It puts on its best show in drifts and masses of as many as possible. a
Muscari owes its popular name, grape hyacinth, to its tiny blue flowers which resemble bunches of grapes. The variety Armeniacum has a blue flower reaching six to eight inches high; Azureum is slightly shorter and paler blue, while Botryoides Alba bears flower clusters which are white. Anemones have varieties which bloom in early spring and early summer. Some flowers are poppy-shaped, others are barely six inches. Low-growing Anemone Blanda is the earliest blooming and has small, pointed petals. The most popular Blandas include Super Mixed with rose-purple shades, Radar, rose shade and White Splendor.
Puschkinia, or Lebanon squill, with lovely clusters of blue or white shaded and striped bells, and Scillia, which resembles blue bells, both flower in early or mid-spring.
Among the tall and later flowering bulbs is Fritillaria. Sometimes called the checkered lily or Guinea hen flower because of its curious shape and markings, the variety Meleagris grows six-pointed drooping bells which are white, light chartreuse, reddish-brown or purple. There are two or three flowers to a single eight-inch stem in late spring.
Fritillaria Imperialis, or Crown Imperial, grows to about three feet. Strong tubular stems support five to seven upside-down tulip-shaped flowers of yellow, red or orange with a green ruff on top.
Allium, with many variations in size and flowering time, is the glamorous cousin of the onion, with round flowers in shades of red, white, light-blue, lavender, purple or yellow. The variety Karataviense is distinctively short with dense, lilac-purple, globe-like flowers with a circumference of one foot. Afflatuenense grows as high as three feet with a magnificently large, showy flower. Both bloom in late spring.
Most spring bulbs are best planted in clumps or casual drifts, with groups of 12 to 25 bulbs of one color grouped together. Crocuses may be dotted about the lawn to produce spots of color. Their foliage will have matured and died before lawn mowing gets underway.