By Erica Glasener, Networx
Spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils and crocus have long been popular with gardeners. Once established, they can reward us with blooms for years. Less familiar but equally satisfying are bulbs that flower in summer including crinums, lilies and rain lilies. Combine these summer bloomers with shrubs, trees, perennials and annuals for nonstop color.
Robust, deer resistant and fragrant, crinums are an old-fashioned favorite that have been grown for generations. Crinum x powellii ‘Album’ has elegant white flowers that rise above large clumps of sword-like foliage. Hardy from Zone 7-10, gardeners in more Northern climates like Minneapolis may want to grow them in containers so that they can be moved to a sheltered location in the winter months. (Bulbs can survive harsh midwestern winters about as well as plumbing in Minneapolis can survive them; they must be kept from freezing.) Once established, crinums form large clumps and are happiest if you don’t move them.
There are numerous types of hardy lilies that flower in summer, and with some planning you can have blooms until September. A favorite of mine that blooms in June or July is the ‘Casa Blanca’ lily, a hybrid with pure white flowers atop 3-4’ tall stems. The perfume is irresistible but watch out, the orange pollen will stain your nose and your clothes. For a soothing combination I combine this lily with white daisies and the white phlox, Phlox paniculata ‘David,’ a mildew-resistant selection.
Another lily with fragrant flowers is a trumpet type called ‘Golden Splendor.’ This hardy bulb will grow in Zones 4-9 and is perfect for the back or middle of the flower border as it grows 4 to 6’ tall. Let it grow up through other perennials which can also provide support for the heavy stems. It likes full sun and makes a good companion with drought tolerant plants like yuccas.