Every rock garden needs flowers that bloom in the spring and what could be more appropriate than bulbs? Tuck a handful here and there among the rocks and let their delicate beauty brighten the last days of winter through the warm days of spring. Here are five bulbs that will do well for years in a rock garden where the soil is well drained. I have started with the earliest blooming and ended with the last and longest blooming one.

Snowdrop (Galanthus navalis Flore Pleno)
When the snowdrops bloom you know that spring is not far away. Their delicate drooping milky-flowers are tipped with green and hang from slender stalks above 2 or 3 grass like leaves that quickly fade away. Naturalize easily.

Bloom time: Late winter, early spring.
Size: 4” H x –3-3 W
Light: Full sun to dappled shade
Soil: Rich, humusy, moist, well drained.
Hardiness: Zones 4-7

For Plant Profile of snowdrops, click HERE.

Netted Iris (Iris reticulata)
These lovely miniature iris bloom about the time of the snowdrops, offering shades of blue and yellow to the early spring garden. O They often have contrasting standards and falls with pretty decorative spots. The slender foliage grows tall after flowering but disappears quickly.

Bloom time: Early spring
Size: 4-5” h x 4” W
Light: Full sun to part shade.
Soil: Average, medium, well drained.
Hardiness: Zones 5-9

For Plant Profile of Netted iris click HERE.

Grecian Windflower (Anemone blanda)
Dasiy like flowers in blue, pink, or white top lovely fern-like foliage that disappears quickly after blooming. Plant in a mass for best effect.

Bloom time: Mid-spring
Size: 6-12” H x 3-6” W depending on the cultivar
Light: Full sun to part shade.
Soil: Moist well drained.
Hardiness: 5-8

For Plant Profile of windflower click HERE.

Species Tulip (Tulipa batalinii ‘Bright Gem’)
For a shot of hot color in the spring rock garden give ‘Bright Gem’ a try. Its bright scarlet red color is accented with a black base and gives any site a big heap of pizazz. Like other species tulips, it is small in size and comes back year after year.

Bloom time: Mid spring
Size: 6: H x 6” W
Light: Full sun
Soil: Average, well drained.
Hardiness: Zones 3-8

For Plant Profile of species tulip ‘Bright Gem’ click HERE.

Narcissus triandrus ‘Hawera’
Several miniature flowers are borne on each stem for six weeks in spring. The flowers look just like trumpet daffodils and have pale canary yellow petals with a lighter yellow trumpet. Natualize well in semi-shady areas.

Bloom time: Mid spring
Size: 8-16” H x 4” W
Light: Full sun to semi-shade,
Soil: Average, well-drained, sandy loam best but tolerates heavier soil if well dained.
Hardiness: 4-9

For Plant Profile of Narcissus triandrus ‘Hawera’ click HERE.

All of these bulbs add beauty to the rock garden but could be used in a variety of other places too. They provide a variety of colors and bloom from late winter to mid-spring, ending about the time the perennials and annuals begin to bloom. Their small size, reliable bloom, and need for well drained soil makes them especially suitable for rock gardens.

Bulb Pointer

By Karen