Summer bulbs add great color
Encyclopedia of dahlias
Bill McClaren.
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2004.
A veteran dahlia grower, hybridizer, judge, and founder of the Montana Dahlia Society shares his enthusiasm and expertise on organically growing and exhibiting these diverse members of the composite family. From pompoms to dinnerplate-size cultivars, this definitive guide includes color photos and notes on the uses, classification, cultivation needs, propagation, and awards of some 700 varieties. His daughter contributed a chapter on history and species. McClaren includes an extensive resource list and glossary. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Ted Collins.
London ; New York : Lorenz, c2000.
Includes index.
The gardener's guide to growing dahlias
Gareth Rowlands.
Newton Abbot : David & Charles ; Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 1999.
The fourteenth book in our popular Gardener's Guide series, this covers one of the most flamboyant of garden plants. The choice of varieties is almost endless, & each year brings new additions to the catalog of more than 20,000 cultivars.

Summer bulbs provide variety and extended bloom time in our hot St. Louis gardens. Many are in full bloom during St. Louisí dog days of summer in late July to September.

Thatís when dahlias, for instance, are at peak bloom.  Dahlias come a wide range of strong colors. They are bright beacons in the garden at a time when much else is brown and tired looking. Gladiolas, another colorful summer bulb, can be planted in succession so that bloom is provided every two weeks beginning in mid June and continuing through September.

These summer bulbs will thrive in St. Louis:


Canna Lilies



Some bulbs are known better for features other than their flowers. Caladium varieties have large showy leaves in colors that include pink, whites, chartreuse, and red. The stunning colocasias or "Elephant Ears" produce heart shaped leaves of enormous size. Tuberoses are grown for the perfume trade. They have a scent that fills a garden on a  warm evening.

"Summer" bulbs refer, in Midwestern gardens, to bulbs that cannot survive a harsh winter. Also called "tender" bulbs, these can be lifted in the fall and stored. Or, they can be treated as annuals to die in the winter. Plant bulbs for summer bloom in the spring with the idea of providing rounds of color throughout the gardening year. Most have simple care needs and will reward a St. Louis gardener with a strong show of color or scent.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff