Saturday, August 29, 2009
Bulbs: in which I tell all ... so far
Or almost all, because the real horror is that I still plan to order from Old House Gardens and —maybe—The Lily Garden. Every year, I go crazy with bulbs and it seems to grow worse with time. Nearly half of them are for forcing and others are treated as annuals; hence, the reason I need so many each year. So far, I have ordered 455 bulbs. Over the last two weeks.
There is still work to be done here, but I do have some species (top) triumphs, and doubles (above) on the way. One hopes the species will naturalize, while the triumphs will be forced for inside the house, or used in containers to be brought outside from the garage in April. My goal is to have every type of species tulip available growing in my front garden. Tulip season is the best time for this space, as during the summer, deep shade limits the possibilities for flowering plants. Can you say … hosta? So before I have to get all creative with shade perennials and impatiens, it’s nice to have the tulip show. Species tulips from top left: vvedenskyi, marjoletti, humulis violacea, dasystemon, orphanidea flava, pakowskiana, and humulis Persian Pearl. Above are hybrids Orange Princess, Black Hero, Yellow Mountain Rem's Favorite, and Strong Gold.
Though the large-flowered daffs don’t work well on the GWI property—their decaying foliage just can’t be hidden—I love forcing tazettas inside and I am adding some small species types for outdoor planting this year. It’s sad that so many assume Ziva is the beginning and end of paperwhites/tazettas for inside. The ones I’m ordering have much more interesting flowers and a lighter, pleasant scent. I will be ordering more of these from Old House Gardens. Above are cantabricus, Martinette, albus plenus, and Golden Rain.
There is nothing fresher and lovelier in winter than the scent of a forced hyacinth—at least, to me—and I fill my house and office with them every year, as well as giving some as gifts. I also use Victorian forcing vases to hold some of them. It's a lot of fun and the forcing process is strangely devoid of failure. Above are Prince of Love, Crystal Palace and Raphael.
These are perennials and generally last for a few years—some longer than that. I have had a few of my lilies for ten years, but some diminished and disappeared. A sharply draining sandy soil is best for them, and I don’t have close to that. They thrive as best they can, though, and are undoubtedly the highlights of my summer garden. This year I’m going to do more in containers, as I can only fit a few in the ground. Above are orienpet Satisfaction and orientals Amazing and Excelsior.
That’s what Scheepers calls them and it works for me. I always add scilla and galanthus; this year, I am planting camassia and winter aconite (eranthis hyemalis) for the first time, inspired by images of these I’ve seen on other blogs. I like the double flore pleno snowdrops the best, I think. They are above, with camassia Caerulea, eranthis hyemalis, and scilla siberica.
Why order so many bulbs? Is it necessary? Of course not. But here’s the thing: bulbs always work. Not forever; but at least for the first year, each is a little ball of completely fulfilled expectations. The images here are all catalog porn, but if you look at past posts, you can see many of these as they really grow in my garden, or forced in the house.