The earliest and sometimes the latest blooms in your yard will come from bulbs. The littlest bulbs flower first, with some kinds even flowering through the snow as early as March. From that moment on, you can have bulbs of some kind flowering all the way through autumn.
Photo of snowdrops
Different bulbs have different planting times and sometimes this is confusing. Spring-flowering bulbs like crocus, hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils need cold winter temperatures in order to bloom in the spring. This means they have to be planted in the fall, usually September or October depending on which part of New England you live in.
Summer-flowering bulbs like dahlias, gladiolus, cannas, and tuberose are planted in late spring, after the soil has warmed up and danger of frost has passed.
The earliest flowers you can have in your landscape come from bulbs like snowdrops, early crocus, glory-of-the-snow, and windflower. These will begin flowering in March and very early April in all but the coldest parts of New England. These are followed by everyone's favorites - tulips and daffodils - but also hyacinth, late crocus, lily-of-the-valley, wood hyacinth, and others. In summer, bulbs like crocosmia, dahlia, canna, allium, gladiolus, lilies, and tuberoses carry the show.
The bulb season can even extend into fall with bulbs like colchicum, hardy cyclamen, fall crocus, saffron crocus, and lily-of-the-field.