Posted by Keriann Koeman on September 15, 2016
Looking for ideas for a perennial spring garden that will wow you and the bees? All you need to do is follow these three easy steps when choosing bulbs and your garden will be considered the bees knees!
1. Choose bulbs or seeds that have not been treated with pesticides. They easiest way to be sure is if they are labeled as USDA Organic. This means they have not been treated with bee harming systemic pesticides like neonicotinoids. One of our favorite seed providers is the Hudson Valley Seed Library. They still have organic garlic available too, which you can plant now along with some great flower mixes which will start to come up after the tulips and daffodils
2. Choose varieties that will bloom consecutively for the longest lasting spring garden. Planting this way can extend bloom time up to a month or more. The flower description usually tells you if they bloom early, mid or late spring. Early blooms like crocus are a crucial early pollen source for bees as they become more active and have to feed their brood. Mid and late flowers continue to provide beautiful pollen laden blooms throughout spring. Happy Bees & Happy Gardeners.
3. Lastly, don't make the mistake of planting bulbs one by one. This brings the wow factor way down and is way more work than necessary. Plant in clumps of at least 10 bulbs or more for the most impact. Dig one larger hole instead of lots of individual ones. Some mightcall it lazy gardening but I think its just more efficient :)
Take it a step further and sow flowers seeds over the soil and your garden will bloom throughout the summer. Shazam-you now look like an amazing gardener! I like the Seed Library's Bird Lovers Mix which can be planted in the fall or their Northeast Native Mix which is planted in the spring and includes lots of great flowers for bees and milkweed for the Monarch Butterfly.
Here's what I'll be planting in my perennial bee garden this fall:
1. Super early blooming crocus King of the Striped and Ruby Giant- these are small so I use them in borders.
2. Early blooming daffodil Jet Fire - its shorter and adds depth when mixed with taller daffodils.
3. Early to mid blooming daffodils Bridal Crown and Thalia
4. Mid blooming daffodil Tresamble and maybe some blue or lavender hyacinth for a splash of color and fragrance.
As an extra bee bonus I always have a clump of Muscari somewhere that blooms mid spring and smells amazing. Muscari is very versatile. Plant it with crocus, throughout your daffodils like a carpet of blue or in a pot on your porch to welcome guests with its subtle but sweet fragrance and gorgeous eye popping blue grape-like blooms.
If this a bit too much for your space or budget you can easily pair it down to just one crocus,some muscari and a few daffodils. You can't really go wrong with any combination. Nature magically creates a spectacular show.
I would love to see your ideas and creations and encourage you to share on our social media pages.