By Shannon Dortch

A wave of early color greets visitors to Cornell Botanic Gardens in spring, courtesy of 30,000 mixed bulbs, now beginning their bloom outside the Nevin Welcome Center. Professor William Miller, of the School of Integrative Plant Science, Horticulture Section of CALS, collaborated with Cornell Botanic Gardens to plant the bulbs along the Bioswale Garden with a mechanical bulb planter— a novel demonstration for Cornell University. The bulbs were planted in fall 2017, making 2019 their second annual bloom.

“Presently, there is a fantastic display of crocus and chionodoxa, and narcissus will be flowering shortly,” Miller said. “We anticipate excellent perennialization from these plantings as well as reduced mowing, leading to lower carbon emissions.”

Anthos, the trade association of flower bulb exporters from the Netherlands and funder of the Flower Bulb Research Program at Cornell, supported the planting project by donating the bulbs and providing the planting machine. The machine lifts the turf, plants the bulbs, and places the turf immediately back in place. The bulbs on display offer deer resistance and highlight a sequence of blooms throughout the spring, emerging now and blooming through June.