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.