In the springtime, I admire my garden as it grows full of flowers and buds, with colour in every corner. But I know that by mid-July, I will feel deflated as I gaze at bare spots and nary a bloom. What to do? I have learned that there is a solution for those of us with gaps in the garden: summer bulbs. And now is the time to plant them.
We asked two experts for their summer bulb recommendations. Here are their recommendations.
Art Gallery dahlia duo
Amy Dube is a flower bulb expert with Dig Drop Done, an online educational resource designed to demystify flowering bulbs, and to help grow the flower bulb industry in North America. The Art Gallery dahlia duo, with its fuchsia and orange blooms is Amy’s first choice, but she says any dahlia from the Gallery series is an interesting addition to the garden because their flowers are low growing (about 30 to 40 cm) and about half the height of a regular dahlia. Leaves are a dark blue-green colour, dramatically contrasting with the pinks and oranges of the blooms. These plants can handle full sun to dappled shade and will bloom from mid-summer to late fall.
Dahlia Collarette type
A second new series promoted by Dig Drop Done is Collarette dahlia. These plants are significantly taller than the Gallery series, growing from 75 to 120 cm tall. They are ideal for flowerbeds, in borders, in containers, and make wonderful cut flowers.
Within this group, Amy suggests Smarty (as shown in the main image). “The shape of the petals are different, slightly cupped, with individual petals alternating in colour,” she says. Half of one flower may be white and half may be purple. What makes this flower unique is not only the petal, but also the leaves which are darker than most dahlias. “Don’t hide this one in your garden.”
According to Amy, the begonia to look for this year is the double-bloom Odorosa. What makes it unique is its fragrance and foliage. It grows 30 to 60 cm high and has a blend of pink and apricot tones, bronze foliage and a tendency to cascade. It is one of the bright stars for the shade.
Lilium Oriental hybrids
Lilies are always a popular choice. A pale pink Oriental lily called Josephine is remarkable because it has a sweet scent and a freckled dark pink spot on the inside of the delicate pale pink petal. Josephine is easy to grow and lasts from July to August in the garden, grows up to 60 cm, is fragrant and one stem can produce as many as seven to eight flowers.
Photos courtesy of Dig Drop Done