Tip Toe Through The Siberian Squill

Ladies and gentlemen, we have just enjoyed a glorious spring weekend. Much to write about, but I won’t attempt to cover everything in one post. For right now, I just want to talk about the flowers that, more than any other, define spring in this part of the world. Namely, bulbs.


The early species tulips are blooming lustily. Species tulips are a favorite of mine. The flowers are smaller but more interesting with great colors. Their best qualities are that they have smaller bulbs are easier to work into a mixed bed, also they are reliably perennial and will sometimes naturalize. Species tulips are first cousins to the wild tulips that grow from Central Asia to the Mediterranean.

If I say so myself, this combination of Tulipa praestans ‘Unicum’ (red) and Tulipa turkestanica (yellow and white) is very fetching.

Tulipa praestans 'Unica' and Tulipa turkestanica
Tulipa praestans ‘Unica’ and Tulipa turkestanica

The deep red Tulipa linifolia also does well all on its own.

Tulipa linifolia and Tulipa turkestanica
Tulipa linifolia and T. turkestanica

Here’s some more  T. turkestanica. This tulip and ‘Unicum’ are definitely naturalizing in my beds. Not all species tulips will naturalize, of course. I planted some Tulipa clusiana ‘Tubergen’s Gem’, and that particular tulip seems to have disappeared.

Tulipa turkestanica
T, turkestanica

There’s also this little tulip, blooms very early on very short stems, almost ground level. I can’t remember the name, anybody have an ID?

Species tulip
Mystery tulip

Before I move on from tulips, I should mention the hybrid tulips I’m growing in containers. We’re still at 72 out of 90 tulips now up. Some may not have made it through the winter, or they could just be late varieties – too early to tell. If we did lose a bunch of bulbs, I will make a point of giving the containers more insulation next winter, and also maybe not using the smaller ones.

The daffodils are blooming nicely. Sorry to say I have lost track of the varieties there are in my garden.

yellow daffodils

I like the white and partially white daffodils.

White daffodils

White daffodils
Our concrete chicken likes daffodils.

Then there are the squill (Scilla sibirica). They are starting to naturalize in the front yard.


In the back garden, they’ve been naturalizing for a while. There is a stretch of Lincoln Park in Chicago where there is just a sea of blue from all the squill, for me one of the highlights of the season.

Squill in the back garden

As I say, this weekend was so beautiful that everybody on the block felt compelled to go out and work in the garden. Even our neighbors’ dog Daisy wanted to experience the joy of digging in the mud. This picture was taken with Daisy looking up as Judy leaned over the fence we share with these neighbors.

Daisy helping in the garden.
You dirty dog!

Was your weekend as great as ours? I certainly hope so!

57 Comments on “Tip Toe Through The Siberian Squill”

  1. Thank goodness for spring bulbs! They definitely fill the need for instant spring gratification. I don’t have any early species tulips but your photos are making me think I might have to get some 🙂

  2. I have also spent the entire weekend in the garden. Potatoes are laid, dahlias also laid, and lots of other stuff done. I also like the botanical tulips. I´m waiting for some yellow ones that I plantes in the fall. Squill has such a beautiful blue colour.

  3. Glad you could get out into the garden at the weekend. It does the soul good! Ours was a little grey and damp, but the garden was relieved as we had a few very warm days last week. I do love those two species tulips together – the foliage really sets off their colours. And you have a lovely mix of daffodils… I must make a note to plant more this autumn.

  4. I think i prefer tulips like this unlike tho most famous cup-like ones. But i love must those blue flowers, any blue flowers i prefer than most. But that ornamental dog is so funny especially at the contrasting mud. He is so white with that black mud.

  5. What a mucky pup Daisy is!! The squill naturalising in the back garden is gorgeous Jason. Those species tulips are beautiful and certainly pack a punch!
    Isn’t it wonderful to get out and about.
    I know we’ve spoke before about your tulip containers – feed when flowers have gone over with half strength tomato feed until the foliage dies back. One of my pots of Queen of the Night has come up blind but the other has plenty buds….strange!!

  6. It was a stunner of a weekend, wasn’t it? I was on the road to Minnesota and back all day Saturday, and in Milwaukee all day Sunday. The snow was just barely melted in Minnesota, but the Siberian Squill, Forsythias, and Magnolias (among many others) were putting on a stunning show in Milwaukee. Sigh. Spring fever is in full swing!

  7. Hello Jason!
    Ooh how lovely spring flowers.
    I love tulips, narcissi, daffodils …
    I admire your beautiful photos.
    I’m delighted. Real miracles.
    I love your dog Daisy. It’s lovely.
    He also loves your garden.
    I wish you have a nice weekend.

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