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Summer Blooming Flower Bulbs

If you’re looking for stunning blooms in your garden this year, now is the time to plant those bulbs!

There are lots of fantastic options to choose from, such as such as gladioli, callas, dahlias, lilium, tuberous begonias, and crocosmias. When it comes to summer blooming bulbs, you've got choice!


Here are a few of our favourites. Each of these will bloom at slightly different times and complement each other, giving you a gorgeous display all the way from early to late summer:

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 Lilium – Mysterious Blend (Liliaceae)  – An early-summer bloomer, this is a great new mix on an old favourite. “Mysterious Blend” is a stunning mix of Asiatic lilies with flowers of the purest white mixed with flowers of the deepest purples and reds.

 
The flowers feature glossy petals that are firm and long-lasting in cut flower arrangements, or as a surefire way to add dramatic colour to your garden.


Lilium prefer full-sun to partial-shade, and grow 90-150cm tall.


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Calla – Royal Majesty (Zantedeschia aethiopica) –  A mid-summer bloomer, Callas have a certain air of elegance like no other flower. Their unique cup- shape, upright sword-like leaves, and vivid colours are a favourite for both gardeners and florists alike! 


The “Royal Majesty” mix is a gorgeous blend of whites, pinks and purples. These cool tones will certainly be the focal highlight of your garden.


Perfect for container gardening, or used as a border in your garden, Callas are surprisingly easy to grow. Enjoying full sun to partial shade and growing 30-91cm tall.


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Dahlia – Myrtle’s Folly (Dahlia fimbriata) A late-summer bloomer, it’s hard to imagine a flower more eye-popping than this enormous burst of narrow, twisted, and vibrantly colored petals. 


Each dinner-plate blossom is massive and an absolute bonfire of hot colors. From gold to peach to hot pink, the Myrtle’s Folly Dahlia is a beautiful one-of-a-kind bouquet all on its own!


 Myrtle's Folly Dahlia is a large plant, and will grow to be about 122cm tall at maturity, with a spread of 76cm. Since the blooms are so massive, the flower stalks can be weak and may require staking in exposed sites or excessively rich soils.

 

 

Hauling Enormous Plant Requires Advance Strategy

Giant canna lily looks great in my foyer after major production to get it there

Houseplants have always been a struggle for me—a physical one, in the purest sense. But like most people’s, my desire to grow houseplants has more to do with enthusiasm than sensibility. There was ample evidence of this a few years ago when I decided that a gigantic pot of canna lilies would make the perfect—if not completely impractical—addition to my home.

The lilies looked spectacular at the greenhouse. The more I envisioned them in my foyer, the more I needed to have them. The more I needed to have them, the more possible getting them home seemed.

The plastic pot that contained the cannas was filled with lightweight soil, yet the combined weight of the plant, soil, and pot was remarkably heavy—about 136 kilograms (300lbs). Thankfully, dollies and forklifts made getting the massive assembly into a van and to my house easy. The situation upon arrival was another story.

Now I don’t have a run-of-the-mill house. In fact, it’s been referred to (lovingly) as a sugar cube with skylights, but it’s these skylights that allow me to grow plants. No, the challenge wasn’t getting the cannas to grow in my home. The challenge was getting the cannas into my home.

California roll

For some reason, the previous homeowners built with the “California look” in mind. The result was a 13-flight, concrete staircase that begins at the sunken driveway and ends at the landing.

Now, I wasn’t crazy enough to think I could get the pot up the stairs, but I did sell myself on an alternate path. Instead of having to navigate 13 concrete steps, all I had to do was make my way up a not-too-steep slope that ran adjacent to the steps. Drastically different terrain, same endpoint.

Quite satisfied with both myself and my luck, I slid the giant canna onto my wheeler and gently rolled it down the ramp of the van.

Oh, did I mention it was the middle of November? Now seems like a good time.

Winter woes

So it’s November, and I’m slipping and sliding (giant canna in tow) up the ice-covered walkway to my front door. The entire ordeal left my upper body drenched in sweat and my lower body (primarily my rear end) drenched with snow, a souvenir from the numerous times I fell.

When I arrived at the small concrete ridge separating the walkway on the left from the 13 stairs on my right, I put the grip of death on the pot and eased it over the bump.

But because I was due for a life lesson, the pot rolled off the wheeler, bounced down each of the 13 stairs and ploughed into my garage door.

Try, try again

I swore the entire walk down to the driveway. As angry as I was, I was grateful that neither the pot nor the canna was damaged. So, like a trooper, I slid the pot onto the wheeler and repeated the move—same slippery slope, same sweat, same wet rear end. The only difference was that this time I knew what could happen. So this time, when I got to the tricky spot, I planted my feet, pulled the pot as tight to the wheeler as humanly possible and eased the rig over the bump.

You’d think that would have done it; yeah me too, so you can imagine how funny I didn’t find it when the pot bounced back down the stairs.

As the canna meteored downward, the pot separated from the soil mass, I suppose much like a booster rocket drops off the space shuttle.

The pot, it hit the concrete wall; the huge mass of soil, my car.

Canna you believe it?

Disbelief? Anger? Stupidity? –you pick, but one of them had me at the base of the stairs, muscling soil back into the pot and giving it one last go. This time I used my body as a shield to stop the canna from rolling into the abyss. And this time, it worked!

As I triumphantly threw open the front door and flashed my crazed smile at my startled wife, I prepared to wheel my prize into the house. It really was too bad that the pot was wider than the door.

 

 

 

Happy indoor gardening!

 

A slightly different edit of this story ran in the December 7, 2006 issue of the Edmonton Journal.