If you don't have very much space, or you don't want to dig holes for tulips and daffodils, concentrate on the so-called "minor" bulbs. With just a kitchen knife or dandelion digger, you can plant these small bulbs easily and quickly. Just plunge the tool in the ground, rock it back and forth and drop in the small bulb.
The minor bulbs include such charmers as snowdrops, crocus and grape hyacinths. They need only be planted a few inches deep. Once planted, they need absolutely no care whatsoever and will thrive and multiply for years. They will most likely outlive you. Over time, they naturalize and make lovely spring displays. I'm certain that the grape hyacinths in my garden have been on the property for at least a century.
Other exceptional minor bulbs include bright yellow winter buttercup, tiny snow iris, deep blue Siberian squills, checkered guinea hen fritillaria and wild tulips. The latter include orange and yellow Tulipa chrysantha, bright magenta T. humilis and star-shaped yellow T. tarda. These tulips persist and multiply beautifully to form impressive colonies.
The minor bulbs are almost never bothered by pests. They attract the first bees of the year.
Snowdrops and winter buttercups do well in moist, shaded areas. Most of the others will perform well in a variety of conditions, including hot, dry spots. With a minimum of effort on a sunny afternoon, you'll be blessed with a lifetime of spring flowers.
Bulbs are courtesy of Tagawa Gardens.
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