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Ready, Set, Garden!

King's Garden in the spring
A spring display of tulips in the King’s Garden was visited by attendees of the Garden Clubs of America national convention held in Lake Placid, May 1973.


The word “spring” conjures up many pictures – green grass, the arrival of migrating songbirds, warm sunshine, and of course, flowers!  Classics like tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinths are starting to peek through the soil to color the landscape.  These bulbs are planted in the fall and are a great source of satisfaction for gardeners anxious to begin the garden season.

There are a wide variety of summer-blooming bulbs, tubers, corms and rhizomes that are planted in late spring that add variety and flair to seasonal displays.  The King’s Garden’s historic plan lists several, including dahlias, gladiolas, and numerous lilies.  These are all geophytes, plants with an underground storage organ.  Around the gardens, other examples of geophytes include allium, bearded irises, liatris, cannas, hops and garlic.  All are easy to handle, ship, and store compared to rooted perennials.  Those that are tender must be dug in the fall and stored.

Star of Bethlehem plants
Leftover from bygone days, these Star of Bethlehem plants, though beautiful, are problematic due to their invasive nature. Bulblets form around the main bulb creating large colonies.


The flowering onion (allium) and lily of the valley bloom in May, with bearded irises in June, lilies in July, followed by gladiolas in August and dahlias in September.  Now is the perfect time to weave these annuals and perennials into your garden plans.  Begin your planning by attending the second annual Garden & Landscape Symposium on April 13th to be inspired and get expert advice from a distinguished panel of speakers on design and care.


Looking for sources for plants?  The “bulb” experts at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs offer hundreds of interesting selections in their Summer-Flowering Bulbs Catalogue that are great for garden beds and containers.  I’ve got my eye on the hardy Hibiscus ‘Fireball’ and the 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year, variegated Solomon’s seal.  When you shop with them, they make a donation to the King’s Garden!  You can also support the garden by attending the Spring Plant Sale on May 18th from 10 am to 2 pm.  We’ll be sharing the showy, tropical red canna, along with perennials from the historic gardens.  Members of the Essex County Master Gardeners will be on hand to discuss how to adapt your gardening practices in response to the changing climate.

Orange tulips
Orange tulips blooming in the King’s Garden


The King’s Garden opens for the season on Saturday, May 25, 2013.  Dozens of events, programs and activities are scheduled throughout.  I hope to see you this spring in the garden!


Heidi teRiele Karkoski
Director of Horticulture