Winter Blooms & Bulbs

Flowers Brighten Our Day

A bouquet of flowers brings a smile to everyone, especially in the winter time! A bright burst of color in the winter time is sure to lift spirits. And since bulbs are hidden beneath the soil most of the year, it’s like a surprise when they peak through!

There is an entire field of study devoted to color psychology of human behavior. Researchers at Harvard (and many other universities) has published studies on how color can account for our reactions or even change a person’s mood based on color. I don’t believe you can go wrong with a bouquet of flowers in any color, but it’s interesting to consider the feeling each color provokes.

Bulbs make a beautiful bouquet as a bunch or a single stem. Many bulbs bloom beginning in January and continue through spring (some bloom a little later). There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of varieties to choose from! Bulbs are typically planted in the fall, late winter but be sure to plant summer flowering bulbs in the spring after the danger of frost has passed.

Most spring-flowering bulbs prefer light shade to part sunshine. This is because many spring-flowering bulbs bloom and produce foliage well before most deciduous trees leaf out, they get plenty of sun under the canopy of such trees, which offer dense shade later in the season. Light requirements for summer bulbs are more variable. Check the requirements for each variety and select a spot where they will receive enough light for blooming, or put them in a container. Insufficient light usually results in poor flowering, but too much light will bleach the flowers and foliage of some species.

Rainbow of Bulbs 

White – Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrops)
Late Winter Bloom. Provokes a feeling of peace, sincerity, and purity.
Snowdrops are among the first bulbs to bloom in the New Year. Delicate little drooping buds add a nice sharp white contrast against the green landscape. It can be fun to scatter snowdrops along driveways and the edges of the garden.

Yellow – Glamini Gladiolus Silvia
Late Summer- Fall Bloom. Provokes a feeling of friendliness, warmth, also associated with sunlight.

Abundant tall, stalks of color that can fill a good-sized area. The blooms attract many pollinators and make a great addition to any garden.

Purple – Allium ‘Globemaster Giant’ (Ornamental Onions)
Early Summer Bloom. Associated with meditation, contemplation but can also be a sign of royalty.

A striking plant in the landscape, notable for its structure- like rays of a sunburst. I really enjoy drying these to appreciate all year long and this variety has a great tall stem of 32”. The Allium (onion) genus is also well known for its edible members and chives in bloom make an excellent accent to any landscape!

Blue – Iris ‘Fiesta in Blue’
Spring- Early Summer Bloom. Provokes a feeling of calmness or coolness. A genus of 260–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. Its name is derived from the Greek word, which is also the name for the Greek goddess for a rainbow. Simple green foliage with tall flower stalks. Best to divide in August.

Red – Lilium asiatic (Asiatic Red Lily)
Summer Bloom. Provokes a feeling of passion, and fire but also signals warning for danger.

Striking color with large blooms, and foliage stays green long after blooms die. This lily is very easy to maintain and divide.

Orange – Hemerocallis fulva (Daylily)
Bloom varies (Late Spring- Summer). Provokes a feeling of warmth, joy, and happiness.

Prolific performers, very easy to maintain. Foliage stays healthy long after the blooms expire.

Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist