Cheerful daffodils are classic spring flowers. For a natural look, toss them around your yard or landscape and plant them where they fall. Choose big, healthy bulbs and plant them 6" deep about 2 to 4 weeks before your ground freezes. They need sun to part sun and will come back year after year; they're hardy in USDA zones 3-8. 'Sunshine Boys,' pictured here, is a blend of early-blooming daffodils.
For best results, plant tulip bulbs, pointed ends up, about 6-8 weeks before the first hard frost in your area. Larger bulbs should be planted deeper (usually 8-10” deep) than smaller ones (usually 5-6” deep). Because tulips need a certain amount of cold weather to flower, they may not come back after the first year or two. If you live in a mild climate, ask your local county extension service agent if you should buy pre-chilled tulip bulbs, or chill them yourself, in your refrigerator, before you plant.
Narcissus refers to a genus that includes daffodils, paperwhites, jonquils and other bulbs—but most of us think of the big, trumpet-shaped flowers as daffodils and the small, white ones as narcissus. (When they’re grown around the holidays, narcissus are often called paperwhites.) 'Golden Harvest,' shown here, is a vigorous, early-flowering bulb that dates back almost 100 years. Like other bulbs in this genus, narcissus should be planted in autumn.
You could almost mistake beautiful ranunculi for roses. If you live in USDA zones 8-10, plant the bulbs 2" deep in the fall. In cooler climates, ranunculus won’t survive the winter, so wait until spring to tuck them into the garden or containers, and expect the blooms to open in late summer. (You'll need to buy new bulbs next spring.) Plant the bulbs with the claw-shaped side facing down.
Even though alliums are related to onions and garlic, you probably won’t smell anything unless you crush the plants' leaves. In the fall, give the bulbs a spot with full sun, and plant them 6” deep and 12-14” apart, with the pointed ends facing up. With their long, slender stems and globe-shaped flowers, alliums are great for a cutting garden. Don’t worry if their foliage turns yellow by mid-summer. It’s just going dormant until the bulbs are ready to bloom again.
Hyacinths fill the spring garden with an intoxicating perfume. Start your bulbs in the fall, planting them 7-8” deep in soil mixed with lots of good organic matter. The planting site should drain easily, so the bulbs won’t rot in soggy soil or standing water. Mulch them if you live where the winters are very cold, or where the ground might freeze in spring. As with other bulbs, don’t remove the foliage when the flowers fade. Let it grow until it dies naturally, so it can store energy up for the next season’s flowers. Shown here: Hyacinth Blend 'Etouffee.'
Fall-planted Dutch iris are easy to grow and make lovely cut flowers. Get the bulbs into the ground before the first hard freeze and give them a site with full sun to partial shade. They should be planted about 4-6” deep and 3” apart. Let the leaves remain on the plants until they die back naturally, and the bulbs, which are hardy in zones 5-9, should flower again the following year.
There are many different types of tulips, including Darwin hybrids, Fosterianas, doubles, parrots and more. Tulip 'Akebono' is a Japanese tulip that blooms in mid to late spring. Plant this double beauty in fall in part sun to part shade. It's hardy in zones 3-8.
If you’re having trouble finding true-blue flowers for your garden, look for muscari, or grape hyacinths. Hardy in zones 4-8, these little bulbs, which are available in white and various shades of blue and purple, like full sun and soil that drains easily. They mix beautifully with other spring-blooming flowers, such as daffodils and tulips. Plant them in the fall, 2-3” deep, spacing them every 3-4”.
For a longer flower show, plant early, mid-season and late-season varieties of tulips, so the bloom times will be staggered. Tulips don't always come back reliably. If you live where the weather is rainy in the spring and summer, it may help to dig them up, store them in a dry location and replant them in the fall.
Plant crocus bulbs just underneath your grass in fall for early spring color. 'Hokus Crocus,' shown here, is a mix of purple, white and purple-white striped varieties. These dainty flowers like a sunny garden spot and typically multiply as time goes by. Wait six to eight weeks before you mow over their foliage so you'll have repeat blooms next year. (The small bulbs usually flower before the grass needs mowing anyway, and the thin, narrow leaves blend in with your lawn.)
The wood ceiling beams, floating shelves and island all infuse the kitchen with warmth and give the space a natural touch. With light streaming in through the windows and plants all around, the room feels fresh and inviting.
Houseplants and flowers are a great way to make an airy space feel more vibrant and lived in. From the 8-foot-tall variety (hello, fiddle-leaf fig!) to smaller house plants with lush foliage, you can't go wrong with greenery. Several placed around the room will go a long way to bringing the outside indoors.