Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bulbs and me, 2008

For my records and your possible entertainment, I share my annual bulb order. So far, that is, because though you’d think 430 bulbs would be enough for anyone, I may order later from Old House Gardens and The Lily Garden.

I love species tulips (top), but they are small and you do need a lot of them for a lovely wildflower-like impact. My ultimate goal is to have every single species tulip that can be purchased in my garden. This year I got some I don’t yet have—biflora (bottom right), marzoletti (top left), vvedenskyi (bottom left)—and some more turkistanica. Species emerge early or late, so that’s another reason you need a lot. You’d think they’d all be early, but not so.

Triumph tulips (above, top left and right) are the best for forcing and I also use them in big containers (kept in the garage over the winter) and in the front “yard,” where they have to be dug up after bloom. Then I have a single late mix in two raised beds, 50 in each. This is the epitome of the “dig a big hole and throw em in” method and it works amazingly. Big impact. The forced indoor tulips need a 12 week chilling period in the root cellar. The triumphs are Amazone and Negrita; the single lates are Blushing Lady and Mrs. Scheepers.

What will I do with these double lates? I couldn’t resist: Yellow Mountain, Black Hero, Orange Princess.

Hyacinths are purely for forcing, in vintage (almost typed "antique" but who are we kidding) hyacinth glasses and in pots. They work equally well in each, given a chilling period of 10 weeks. I give a lot of these as gifts. The recipients sometimes look askance at the fat buds sticking out of dirt, but they love them when they bloom. Those and biscotti are my two “homemade” gifts. These are Isabelle, Carnegie, and Raphael.

I lurve tazettas and there are so many better types than Ziva. From top left you see Inbal, Grand Soleil d’Or, Martinette, and Golden Rain. These all take longer than Ziva, but in full (window) sun they will bloom reliably. They should be started in a somewhat dark, chilly room until they get a good sprout going. I use colored glass stones and river stones, depending on the look I’m going for. Some use aquarium gravel, but … I dunno. Old House Gardens offers tazettas that need a two week chilling period and these are wonderful—a pure daffodil scent, no sickly smell at all. The varieties above also have a lighter, fresher scent than Ziva. In conclusion: you can do better than Zivas.

Finally, lilies, my summer passion. I am trying to transition from the pink tones to white, golden, and orange, hence the orienpets and oriental hybrids you see above, from left: Touching, Amazing, and Honeymoon. These arrive last as they are the last bulbs to be harvested. The Lily Garden catalog will arrive soon, and I will be tempted. I authorize you all to enable me.


TC said...

My! but you love your cultivars.

For a most beautiful white lily, I must recommend L. 'Casa Blanca.' Very aromatic.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

That's a whole lotta bulbs! I'm suprised you don't plant any of the Darwin Tulips. I have only 2 types of Tulips & they are both Darwins. One clump has to be at least 5 years old & it still blooms wonderfully. Or maybe you just like digging holes. ;^)

Anna said...

I can just picture it when they bloom. I can see why you want so many and have to have them all. When I am passionate about something---I do go at with gusto. I understand your addiction;)

dee/reddirtramblings said...

I can't wait for you to post pics when all of these lovelies bloom in the spring. You should be called, "The Bulb Girl." Not too imaginative, I know, but I'm tired from GWA.~~Dee

Northern Shade said...

You have a good assortment of bulbs coming. There is nothing like planting bulbs to build that feeling of anticipation. Large swaths of bulbs have such a big impact in the spring. They are also the most appreciated blooms, when you have been starved of flowers over the winter.
My favourite bulbs are the small extra early ones, like scilla and puschkinia, but you need even more of the tiny ones to make a good display.
Have fun planting and forcing.

EAL said...

MMG, even for Darwins you need sun to promote flower return. By the time these bloom, my front garden is shaded over. Also, I dislike the time the foliage takes to decline. In a smaller urban garden, such unattractiveness is more noticeable.

EAL said...

MMD, I meant.

Robin Wedewer said...

That's an impressive order! You've motivated me to buy even more bulbs. My husband (and bulb planting partner) will be thrilled.

Robin Wedewer
National Gardening Examiner
(and chicken lover)

Bonnie said...

wow, that's all I can say. That is a lot of bulb planting.

Heather's Garden said...

You inspired me. Today I bought my very first bulbs ever to plant in the ground. And last winter I got hooked on forcing hyacinths completely from your posts on the activity.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

All beautiful bulbs. This just reminds me that I should be ordering, but then you have to actually plant them. Hmmmmmm too warm to plant here yet.

Anonymous said...

Woow! Lots of bulbs to plant there!

I have a question regarding tulip bulbs: What happens if the bulbs are planted slightly too high? I believe the rule is three times the height of the bulb= the planting depth. I have one location however, that the soil was kindof hard, and I did not get the bulb that far in the ground. Will it really make a difference?

Thanks so much,

Limette said...

When I first made my front yard garden I planted a bunch of cool tulip bulbs. Then I read that they weren't likely to come back.

I'm to cheap to plant new ones every year so when I renovated the beds this year I planted only darwin tulips. It's a full sun location so I'm expecting a good return.

Loving the lilies as well.

Rhonda said...

I can't tell you how much your blog just lifts my spirits. All the colors are just spectacular! If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine the smells. Take care.

EAL said...

Camaid, sometimes bulbs will pull themselves down to where they need to be--well, lilies do, I know.

The main thing is that the bulbs do not freeze and thaw, and even 4 inches down they should be fine.

I think those instructions err on the side of safety (as they should).

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh, I couldn't resist the 'Hero' double black a few years ago, either... but it came back and bloomed for me at least 2 years in a row. Just make sure you give it a good light-colored foil, because those flowers are soooo dark. The ones that hovered above my golden oregano were show-offs, but the ones above the bare dirt... well, you just kind of lost the double effect very quickly with those.

So the tazettas... I love 'Inbal' with its creamy color. Why does everyone (including our local garden center) have a million 'Ziva' instead of some options, though? Just because 'Ziva' is faster and a more bright white? (Ugh!)