Spring-flowering bulbs

Most flower bulbs, such as tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and crocuses, bloom in the spring. As soon as winter ends, most plants in the garden are still bare of any leaves. They need time to display any signs of life.

Very cautiously, they start putting forth a little green bud here and there. Flower bulbs grow very differently. They are the real early birds. It’s almost magical. One day, you see their shoots coming up and before you know it, the flower buds are popping open. Suddenly, after a cold dark winter, the garden is bursting with color.

And now you know how this can happen. All the food needed to grow was already inside the bulb. Besides that, flower bulbs need very little sunshine. That’s why they have a big jump on other plants in the garden.

Of all the flower bulbs grown in Holland, hardly any are really native – or indigenous as we say – to the Netherlands. Originally, almost all of these flower bulbs come from regions around the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea where the summers are hot and dry and the winters are harsh and cold.

Even now, it is this winter cold that many flower bulbs need. In fact, the colder the winter, the faster the flower bulbs will be in bloom.

This is why we plant them in the fall. At that time, the ground is not yet too cold, so the roots begin to grow. Very slowly, the flower bulbs start to develop. Then winter begins. They stop growing. Their dormant period has begun. In the cold ground, the flower bulbs are waiting for warmer weather. On a certain day, that happens and the first shoots emerge above the surface. In the warm spring sunshine, the flower bulbs quickly produce stems, leaves and flowers.

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