I’ve been planting this year’s bulb order whenever the weather is decent, the ground not too soggy, and I have a bit of time. Yes, I’m running later than usual, but generally as long as they are in the ground before Thanksgiving they are fine. This year, I placed orders with three companies. Van Engelen (the wholesale arm of John Scheepers) got the bulk of my order: tulips, crocus “Cream Beauty,” and winter aconites. The VE tulips were ones I’ve counted on before: Foxy Foxtrot, a double early; the tiny species “Bright Gem” for the potager main path borders; and the lovely, late “Dordogne.” You can see photos of those in previous years’ posts.
New this year was “King’s Orange,” a Triumph tulip that will hopefully be a beautiful as the “Annie Schilder,” which for some unknown reason was not available this year (sigh! I loved Annie!) Brent & Becky’s are famous for their daffodil breeding, so all the new, super-fancy daffys came from their collection: “Color Run,” “Blushing Lady,” “Pacific Rim,” “Can Can Girl,” “Bella Vista,” “Sailorman,” “Slice of Life,” “Sweet Ocean,” and “Soveriegn,” which they say will be 6″ across! I also ordered two daffys that I planted last year, loved, and wanted more: “Rip Van Winkle” and “Mary Gay Lirette.” All of these went into the Front Island. B&B’s pack their bulbs in newspaper, which somehow appeals to me, and I find myself reading paragraphs here and there as I unpack the bulbs. Does anyone else out there do that, or am I the only crazy one? If you love daffodils, go look at their website! It’s a lovely, family-owned and operated company.
I’ve never ordered from ColorBlends before, but I’ve heard good reports, and this year their catalog inspired me to try a few new things, plus they had “Temple’s Favorite” tulip which was a favorite of mine last year from a “late collection,” but not offered separately by Van Engelen this year. I’m going heavier on the late-blooming tulips again this year, because it worked so well last year. They are generally tall, fitting nicely into the back of the borders as the emerging perennials fill out. And, they don’t get destroyed by nasty weather as the early tulips often are. ColorBlends’ forte is combinations. “Threedom” was the first collection one I selected, an early soft orange, a mid-season peony type, and a late lily-flowered. I wish they’d actually tell which varieties are in the mix, but they don’t. I’m guessing it’s maybe “Apricot Emperor,” “Cretaceous,” and “Ballerina.”
The second collection is called “Tang Dynasty.” I’d decided last year, a bit of white would be nice. Plus, the company says many of them will return year after year. Not many tulips have done that for me other than the species tulips, so I’ll be interested to see if that happens. It may turn out that they are too early for our iffy weather, or have those huge leaves that I find annoyingly slow to disappear.
The original plan was to use all of them (100) inside the potager, in the interior borders. However, I actually ran out of tulips after doing only the Front Garden, part of the potager’s exterior borders, and tiny PART of the Deck Garden!!!! So, the “Tang Dynasty” tulips were divided between the top part of the Deck Garden, the north end of the potager exterior border, and just the northeast section of the potager’s interior border. The bottom half of the Deck Garden, the Addition Garden, the North & South Islands, the Cutting Garden, and the rest of the potager’s interior borders will have no tulips next year. 😦
The winter aconites are going under my beloved elder, where they will get early sun in late winter and be easily seen. Later, they will have the shade they prefer as the elder leafs out. All the bulbs were planted with a generous handful of time-release Osmocote and another handful of bone meal. It was interesting to see that the bone meal was processed using solar power! I have a bag of bone meal left…maybe I should buy more bulbs?
I did manage to plant a pot of tulips the other day. First time ever..we will see how it goes.
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I loved reading your reasoning behind each purchase. I’m afraid I’m more of a, “ooooh, I like THAT one, and THIS one!” kind of gardener. I should really give it more thought. I love your thoughtful color choices. I ordered a few dozen bulbs this year too – trying species tulips to see if they will fare better in my gardens.
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Love love love all the orange! Can’t wait to see pictures of them in the spring!
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Wow that’s a good addition to what you’ve already got. We didn’t do bulbs last season, so we only had the re-flowers this spring and summer (we’re in southern hemisphere). Won’t make that mistake again. The nice thing about bulbs for me (besides the beautiful flowers) is the “surprise!” factor. You almost forget about them, and then they all pop up with a spectacular show!
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