The lone voice of horticultural reason



Think spring-blooming bulb plants, and tulips (Tulipa), daffodils (Narcissus), and Crocus leap to mind, but a wonderful avenue for northern gardeners to explore is the many other readily available but under-used bulb plants that heartily grace the spring garden.

I love Fritillaria, a small, classy plant that provides some of the earliest bloom to my garden. It thrives in my Zone 4 beds, and does fine in Zones 2 and 3 if planted twice as deep as instructed and mulched for the winter.

The flowers hang downward (“pendant”) in white, and purple-and-white checkerboards.

Care and Use
The added benefit to Fritillaria is that it does well in shade, and tolerates damp spots, a condition usually spelling death-by-rot for bulbs. Plant in the fall in drifts of no less than seven bulbs (but up to dozens), scattered in groupings throughout the very front of the bed.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener