Our tulips put on a lovely show for weeks. Thanks to all of you for encouraging me to give them a second chance. Years ago I planted a big batch of tulips from Costco and not a single one came up. My friend, Bob, thinks the squirrels made off with them instead.
One of the cool things about keeping a gardening blog is the log. With over a year of blogging, I can refer back to planting schedules, what worked, what didn’t and all the wonderful comments you post. It takes a village to plant an awesome garden. I love that. ♥
Here’s what I’ll be referring to this fall when I buy and chill garden bulbs:
I might try again, but in a different location. They’re stunning, but just didn’t take off.
These will definitely be back next year.
Also a winner, the Passionale tulips were the first up and the longest-lasting.
The not so dirty dozen
I thought I would feel wistful as the tulips faded, but signs of spring are in abundance everywhere. Farewell, garden beauties. Till next year.
Are you seeing signs of spring, too?
When I was a teenager, our mom gave each of us a hyacinth bulb one year for Christmas. As I recall, it came with a glass that allowed the bulb to sit suspended, with the roots growing into the cup of water below. Having the chance to grow one indoors was magical. With just one to focus on, I could see the changes day by day. The scent was intoxicating. It’s been a favorite ever since.
Several years ago I bought a half a dozen hyacinth bulbs at our local Costco. They’ve moved from place to place over the years, but just when I think they’re spent, a few come back. Three of them popped up on the back patio last week. They’ve been nibbled here and there, but they’re pretty just the same. The scent carries me back, as they often do, to our small apartment growing up: powerful, fragrant and at times bittersweet.
Hyacinth in Bloom
Photo Credit: White Flower Farm
I lovingly perused the Fall Netherlands Bulb Company catalog, then cast it aside. The pages, filled with promise and spring blooms, made my heart ache. Wouldn’t it be glorious having a spring garden filled with exotic blooms? Nothing shouts spring, like a garden filled with crocus, daffodils and tulips. I wrote about my bulb-planting failures in August: Spring Bulbs: To Plant or not to Plant, and received the following encouragement:
Bob J. wrote:
Bulbs are so forgiving, even upside down you will get SOME to twist around and come up. I don’t even bother to refrigerate, and most of mine come up anyway. Maybe you are planting too deep, but you would have to drop them in a well for all of them to fail. My feeling is that something has dug yours up. Probably you are going to have to protect them from critters. I stick with Costco and Ace hardware cheapies and plant a few new ones each year.
So, I’m giving them a second try. Following Bob’s advice, I stopped at our local hardware store, and picked up a few bags. Since early frost is uncommon here, I’m popping the tulip bulbs in the fridge for good measure. Bob’s climate is a bit cooler than ours, and he occasionally sees snow.
Tulip Bulb Assortment
Then Boomdeeada wrote:
I’ve had mixed success with fall bulbs. My favorite was a tulip called Angelique. Shorter, blush pink, frilly. It worked well in my spring garden (Our house was Burgundy in color). I also planted a mass of yellow & pink, late bloomers on the lake front, they’d bloom along with the mauve lilac. But I was always adding more every fall. I don’t know why they fail, but sometimes there wasn’t anything to dig up. Like you, I do love the scent of Hyacinth, but even though you link indicates Zone 2, they never came back the next year. Don’t give up!
So…guess what made it into my cart? 15 Tulip Angélique. I’m so excited!
Recommended planting months for our zone are October through December. The tulips have a few weeks to chill before heading outdoors. I also bought Tulip Attila and Tulip Passionale as well as Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis. Next up: where to plant my assorted bulbs and how to keep them under wraps till spring. Suggestions welcome!
Rock, paper, scissors Pumpkin
That is the question. The answer: it’s complicated. I’m perusing the Fall Netherland Bulb Company catalog this morning. It arrived about a month ago, far too early to take it seriously. Now that fall approaches, I’m giving it a second glance. Years ago I planted several bulb varieties from Costco. Either I made the beginners mistake of planting them all upside down, or they didn’t like our soil. Not a single one came up! Perhaps a squirrel dug them up behind my back, but I never saw evidence of that.
I know many bulbs need frost first, then a proper thaw to get them going. Was it foolish to assume that bulbs sold in our town would actually grow in our temperate climate?
One year a friend gave me a pot of paper white Narcissus. Once the plant was spent indoors, I transplanted the bulbs outside. Do you know what happened? Nothing.
As I gaze lovingly at the ‘Tulip Fat Tuesday Blend,’ I can picture the purple and yellow blooms scattered all over my yard. Further on, they’ve dedicated a page to ‘Darwin Hybrids’, including Tulip Beauty of Spring. The petals remind me of a fresh peach.
The most intoxicating of all bulbs are the Hyacinth. Their scent makes me giddy. I received my first Hyacinth as a Christmas present from Mom. I grew it indoors in a glass jar. I still remember the beginning of the transformation and that incredible smell when it bloomed. Planting something with evocative memories isn’t always a good thing. Tied up with the memory of that flowering bulb are things I would like to leave in the past.
So, to plant or not to plant? The icon on the cover says “Bulbs: dig, drop,done.™” They don’t know the half of it.
Hyacinth orientalis ‘Blue Jacket’, exactly as I remember mine.