Here’s a pretty combination of blue and white bulbs. The Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Alba’ (white glory of the snow) and Scilla siberica (squills) have the same flowering schedule, and show up right after the crocus.
Chionodoxa luciliae commonly comes in a very pretty blue colour, a little lighter than the Scilla. I enjoy the colour, but the white ‘Alba’ are attractive, too, and also coordinate with blue bulbs. The Chionodoxa flowers face upwards, unlike the Scilla, for maximum impact. These groups have filled in nicely, and returned with more flowers. It’s heartening to see bulbs that improve in appearance each spring, rather than slowly fading away quickly over a few years like some do.
Scilla siberica are a pure saturated blue. The little blue flowers face downwards, but since both the back and front of the petals are brightly coloured, you can still get an overall effect of a a little piece of the sky. They are very charming and easy to grow, spreading slowly over the years. Since the squill foliage disappear after spring is done, they don’t interfere with any other plants.
Both of these small spring bulbs bloom at the same time as the blue and white striped Puschkinia libanotica, which you can see at the back of the photo. The Puschkinia start first, then the Chionodoxa, and the Scilla join in last. All three of these spring bulbs are reliable, withstanding the cold of zone 3, and returning with strong blooms in early to mid spring. After the flowers are through, it doesn’t take long for the foliage to store up energy for next year, and then die back. Since the leaves are small, they are not as noticeable as tulip and daffodil leaves after the flowers are done, while you wait for them to whither. I find that planting them next to ferns or later perennials hides the decaying leaves quickly.
Both the Chionodoxa and Scilla handle part shade well. In the picture above, they are planted adjacent to some Pulmonaria ‘Majeste’ (lungwort), which you can see on the right. It should have it’s own blue flowers in a few weeks.
You can see some of the fern fronds between the white blooms, like greenery added to a bouquet in a vase. These Chionodoxa luciliae are planted beside a Dryopteris expansa (spiny wood fern). which is semi-evergreen. The fern keeps some fronds over the winter, so it has ready made greenery to pair with the glory of the snow, as the other ferns are still emerging.
These squill flowers are resting on the new fiddleheads of the Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern), pretty blue with alien looking green and brown. The fuzzy looking fiddleheads will unroll very quickly now, growing a metre or so (3 to 4 feet) in a month.
Here you can see the true blue of the Scilla siberica. Both of these bulbs are diminutive, at only 10cm to 25 cm (4 to 10 in) tall, so they look sweet in groups, but a little lost individually. They provide some early flower colour as the first perennials are barely starting to bloom. They look very natural, so you can plant them in a more formal garden bed, or under the trees for a woodland setting.
Here is a gallery showing different photos of the squills and glory of the snow. You can click on any small photo to see it full size.