MuscariBotryoidesAlbumA garden planted with white flowers can be a breath taking sight. The white brings a feeling of coolness to the garden in daytime heightened by the green foliage. In the evening, the white flowers are seem to glimmer in low light and stand out almost as if they had an inner light of their own. The many shades of white can be extended to include the silver and gray foliage that also can add a variety of textures to the garden. To start the growing season in the spring, try including some spring bulbs that boast white flowers.

Here are five spring blooming bulbs for the white garden:

Crocus vernus Jean d’Arc

crocus-vernus-jeanne-darcAlso known as the wild crocus of the Alps, Crocus vernus is a large flowering crocus that is deer resistant naturalizes well and is a good forcer. Introduced in 1944, Jean d’Arc is pure white and has a bright yellow pistil, and varying degrees of purple striations at the base of the flower and at the top of the stem.
Height: 5”
Bloom Time: Early spring
Heat Zone: 4-7

Muscari botryoides album

MuscariBotryoidesAlbumDating from circa 1896, this heirloom grape hyacinth produces spikes of pure long-lasting white flowers. Like the blue form, it is deer-resistant, naturalizes well in sun or partial shade, and is a good forcer.
Height: 6”
Bloom Time: Mid-spring, for 3-4 weeks
Heat Zone: 4-8

Hyacinth Aiolos

HyacinthAiolosIvory white tubular flowers with creamy highlights and slightly reflexed petals are produced in dense spikes. A fairly recent introduction (1985), Aiolos has the intoxicating fragrance common to all oriental hyacinths. Hyacinths such Aiolos dislike “wet feet” so must be planted in very well drained soil.
Height: 8-12”
Bloom Time: Early to mid-spring
Heat Zones: 4-8

Narcissus Thalia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pure white nodding flowers of this heirloom circa narcissus circa 1916 are pure white from the first moment they open. Two or five fragrant blossoms are produced on each stem with recurved petals and cup-shaped crown.
Height: 16-18”
Bloom Time: Mid- to late spring
Heat Zones: 4-9

Peony Flowering Tulip Mount Tacoma

Tulip Peony mount TacomaFor full voluptuous flowers you can’t beat the peony flowering tulips also known as Double Late Tulips. Mount Tacoma has ivory white outer petals surrounding a creamy white center. Flowers are long lasting in the garden and are excellent cut flowers.
Height: 14-20”
Bloom Time: Late spring
Heat Zones: 3-7

By growing all five of these bulbs you will be able to enjoy white flowers from early to late spring and with their varying heights from five to twenty inches can fill many different places in the garden. Note that all of the bulbs except the narcissus Thalia are unsuitable for very warm climates. These bulbs can be purchased from mail order catalogues and online but may be difficult to find in garden centers.  Order bulbs in the late summer for delivery and planting in the fall.

By Karen