Color blast finally here in Northeast Wisconsin

Rob Zimmer

It has been a long time coming, and with Mother Nature seemingly unable to make up her mind, the start of the color blast is finally underway.

Spring bulb bloom season is here, and we are starting to see a lot more action when it comes to the explosive colors of spring blooming bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, irises, crocuses and more are beginning to appear in our area. A few days of consistent warmth and sunshine should really get the show popping.

Spring bulbs, of course, are those that are planted during the fall season to overwinter and prepare for their spring bloom. More and more gardeners are discovering the joys of growing bulbs in the garden. They are excellent for early-season color, disappearing by the time spring and summer perennials begin to make their appearance.

Many of the spring blooming bulbs appear and bloom so quickly that they are completely dormant by the time the leaves flush out on the trees overhead. This makes him an ideal choice for gardeners who want a quick burst of color in spring before standard perennials began to appear and blossom.

There are many great ways to incorporate spring blooming bulbs in the garden. Planting in masses of color is one of my favorite ways. Instead of planting bulbs in individual holes in simple rows or lines, dig a large hole 2 to 3 feet across and cram it full of assorted bulbs for a beautiful display in spring.

One of my favorites of the spring blooming bulbs are the allium, or ornamental onion. Some of these can be quite large, up to 6-10 inches across. Most of these bloom in May or early June. Many varieties come in purple and white.

Tulips are the favorite of many gardeners. They come in such a wide variety of colors and shapes and styles that it is possible to create a breathtaking tulip garden that blooms from April all the way into early June. There are dwarf tulips and giant tulips. There are variegated tulips. Of course, the blooms come in every color of the rainbow.

Hyacinths are another favorite. Fragrant and lush in flower, the large Dutch hyacinths bloom in shades of blue, purple, pink, yellow, orange and white. There are also the smaller grape hyacinths that bloom in blue and purple and white.

Of course, there are the daffodils. In most years, daffodils bloom a bit earlier than tulips. Besides the classic daffodils in shades of yellow, there are many daffodils that bloom in white, as well as orange. An increasing number of daffodils bloom in pink and white. Some have cups that are even near-red in color.

Many garden centers have caught on to gardeners’ woes about planting in the fall. Because of this, you can find many garden centers that now sell pre-cooled bulbs in Spring that are ready to plant and ready to bloom. While these are often common varieties, it is a way for spring gardeners to have lush, spring blooms without having to do all of the hard work in the fall.

One of the best spring bulb displays can be seen each year in May at Green Bay Botanical Garden. Each year, the garden showcases a spectacular array of blooms, expertly arranged and planted to make the most of the colors, bloom time and variety of fall planted bulbs. Nearly a half-million bulbs are on display, with more and more added each year.

Rob Zimmer is a nature and garden author, public speaker and radio show host on WHBY. Readers can find him on Facebook at