Not that there's anything wrong with tulips; I can't resist buying dozens of glossy, plum-colored 'Queen of the Night' and glowing orange 'Princess Irene' to fill pots and feed troughs.
But there are many more unusual choices to keep your garden blooming March through May; here are a few bulbs more unexpected than the usual tulips and daffs...
Photos courtesy of Brent and Becky's Bulbs, a quality source for spring and fall-blooming bulbs.
Camassia lilies bloom blue in May, on tall, skinny stalks with sword-shaped leaves. Their flowers are star-like with yellow centers, they tolerate heavy soils and bloom happily in sun or part shade.
Allium 'Globemaster' is one of the most dramatic of ornamental onions, and is great for crowded gardens because it takes up little horizontal space. It towers over the May garden; plant as many as you can afford for a celestial effect as the purple allium flower globes hover over your other plantings. Allium leaves appear first, then wither away as the flower stalks emerge. The flowers persist for months in the garden, drying to buff colored.
Fritillaria 'Aurora' (a.k.a. crown imperial) grows three feet tall with burn-orange bells topped with a frill of leaves worthy of a tropical parrot. These sculptural beauties often bloom in April, in time to heat up the garden for Easter.
All these bulbs are easy to grow and truly perennial. Plant them this month or next in well-draining soil in a sunny location, and they'll multiply and bloom year after year.