Summer Bulbs in Containers

Sandals off, feet up and basking in the warm summer sun – that’s how I like to spend my summers. When I’m surrounded by a garden filled with colour and fragrance, it’s even better. If you plant a variety of easy to grow summer flowering bulbs, this can be your summer too. For gardeners with limited space, most summer bulbs do well in containers. That way they can sit on your patio, be moved to a welcoming arrangement at your door, or fill a gap in your garden beds. To give some wow to your containers, plant one type of bulb only, or mix them with summer annuals or vegetables. The queen of the summer flowering bulbs must be lilies. They are very easy to grow, increase from year to year, and by using some of the new hybrids you can have lilies in flower all summer. Asiatic lilies open the lily season early to mid July with their colourful, upward or outward facing blooms. Blooms easily last 3 to 4 weeks. For an exotic splash, try “Cancun”, which is yellow with a wide red band around the lips, or Sphinx, a dark red double bloom. Gardeners with limited space may wish to try Pixie lilies which are short, cute Asiatic lilies that are perfect for pots. Mix them with some colourful veggies like Darkness” lettuce or Little Prince eggplants, which will carry your container through the summer, and give you something to munch on too! Soon after the Asiatics bloom, Oriental lilies begin flaunting their seductive perfume across your garden. Stargazers are the popular favourite, blooming late July and early August. Tiger lilies finish off the blooming season in August and September. They have fragrant and abundant blooms, are easy to grow, and bring an old fashioned refinement to the garden. All lilies like good drainage, either part or full sun, and are fully hardy to Zone 5 at least. Dahlias are another standard in the garden, and although the tubers must be dug up each fall and stored somewhere dry and frost-free, they give a lot of bang for their buck. They bloom constantly from August till our first frost, usually in October. Dahlias come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Try some of the Dinner Plate dahlias if you like big and bold. A great one is “Bodacious”. Cactus dahlias have large, colourful starburst flowers that are stunning in flower arrangements. All dahlias do well in large containers. Try some of the new Bishop series dahlias in your containers too. Cannas bring vivid, exotic flowers and bold, tropical foliage to your garden. They perform best when started inside now, and then moved outside when it’s warm. They are great in large containers (3 gallon size minimum), and can then be placed wherever you want a touch of the exotic. Combine them with other foliage plants and bright flowering annuals like Salvia, for a sizzling, tropical look. Pineapple lily or Eucomis is another great and unusual summer bulb that blooms in July and August. They have broad, strappy leaves, with two foot, pink or white flower spires with a great little pineapple tuft on top. A pot of Eucomis in bloom will bring comments from all your visitors. These are just a few of the many, great summer bulbs that are available. Come visit us at Art’s to see the selection, and to prepare for a lazy, laidback summer in your garden.
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