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Here come the bulbs—and a GIVEAWAY

And that's not close to all of them.

And that’s not close to all of them.

I did it again. Slightly over 1,000 bulbs have either arrived or are on their way to my smallish urban property. By far the majority of them are tulips that will mostly be planted in big pots, but there are also 50 tazetta, 200 hyacinths, and various narcissus, erythronium, and lilies. I laid off on the scilla, muscari, and galanthus this year because what I’ve already planted seems to be establishing.

Bright Parrot in Feb.

Bright Parrot in Feb.

The hyacinths will all be forced, with some given as holiday gifts. I’m also forcing a bunch of tulips, mainly parrots because I love the way they brighten up the house in late February, when you really need it.

Unlike many other gardeners I know, deer are not an issue in my neighborhood. What I do have is fairly deep shade where the tulips should go, so there’s even less chance of return than hybrid tulips would have in any conditions. That’s why big pots are the answer. They don’t take up space in the garden and I can put in annuals when the tulips are done.

I tried not to get too many species tulips—mainly because I keep disturbing older plantings when I try to put them in—but it happened. There are also way too many Narcissus jonquilla var. henriquesii. (What was I thinking there?) Over-ordering bulbs is how I assuage end-of-season pangs. The pond has been put to bed and soon the patio furniture will be covered. I don’t do any fall clean-up, really, but the bulbs will keep me busy through Thanksgiving, when the last of the pots go into the root cellar and unheated garage. And I know when I go downstairs to gather up my tazetta vases, I’ll see some sad little withered bulbs from last year that I never got around to potting.

Help me make sure that doesn’t happen this year by taking some of these off my hands. I’m giving away 50—probably narcissus and species tulips, Just leave a comment with your favorite bulb tip/bulb lore by tomorrow (Wednesday), 5 p.m. EST. Winner to be announced Thursday am.

Posted by on October 18, 2016 at 9:21 am, in the category Uncategorized.
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36 responses to “Here come the bulbs—and a GIVEAWAY”

  1. Ryan says:

    Plant bulbs with the old root down.. 😉

  2. Kate Boucher says:

    Rats – saw after the deadline. Can you recommend some other bulbs for forcing during those bleak midwinter months? And where one can order them from?

  3. Deborah Banks says:

    My favorite bulb tip is to plant snowdrops and other early bulbs in the areas where snow melts away earliest. And to take photos in March so you remember where they are

  4. Mary says:

    I also try to plant grape hyacinths with my bulbs, as previously advised by Chris B & Elaine. Such a simple and easy trick to know where not to dig in the fall. I do not bother with tulips since I have so many squirrels and chippies, but plant all of the smaller bulbs, besides daffodils, that they do not like. I do break down and plant crocus, mostly the species and tommies. I have had great luck in deterring the critters from digging up the bulbs by planting the crocus along/against buried rocks (tops above the ground) & then placing another rock (usually a thin long one) against the bulbs, creating a protective channel.

  5. Elaine says:

    Chris Bosacki- that is a great tip!! Thank you!

  6. Chris Bosacki says:

    Since I never remember where all my bulbs are planted, and labels disappear, I have started layering grape hyacinths on top of every daff or tulip that I plant. In the fall, the muscari grow a few green leaves to remind me where they are, and remind me not to dig there. They are inexpensive and multiply quickly, so I can move them around the yard. It is a beautiful purple display in the spring.

  7. Ginny says:

    I love parrot tulips, and second the use of chicken wire to deter squirrels.

  8. marcia says:

    I always plant my daffodils in pots with viola plants on top with grape hyacinths on the all around the edge of the pot. That way have something pretty to look at all winter. I’m in CA. where the winters are warmish and wet. I hope!

  9. manda says:

    I like layering bulbs that will grow at different times throughout the year in the same pot.

  10. Deborah says:

    I plant lits of bulbs. Love daffidils because they are so easy and wild!

    My tip is to plant a fresh garlic clove with all my bulbs to let the squirrels know these aren’t for them. My squirrels respect garlic and stay away. Otherwise they dig up everything i plant.

  11. Abbie says:

    I love our garden’s old school summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum) planted by the original owner who was a master gardener.

  12. Sharon says:

    When picking through a box of bulbs, feel every one to make sure it’s firm and not soft or mushy-feeling.

  13. Jessica says:

    I love getting a handful of bulbs and tossing them out then planting where they fall for a nice random placement. Can’t get enough bulbs!!

  14. Chris Link says:

    I would love some hyacinth bulbs, they smell amazing!

  15. Heidi says:

    I love dalias, but have had terrible luck with keeping them happy for more than a few years. They were used in my wedding bouquet, so they always make me smile. Thanks for sharing with the lucky winner.

  16. Glenn Poshadel says:

    I love Fritilia’s. The are so elegant when they first come up and everyone that see them just are astounded by their different downward faceing unusual clourrs.

  17. Sally McGuire says:

    Awesome! I love bulbs but the voles here in SC devour anything but daffodils. However, the last few years I’ve added crushed oyster shell around the roots of everything and so far, it seems to be working. I plant hostas in big pots, bury the pots to the lip and tuck a few tulips in once they have withered. I’m determined to outwit the critters!

  18. Terri says:

    I’ve done the opposite — I haven’t bought a single bulb this fall!

    I really enjoyed growing tulips in a container last year and hope to do more containers this year. With voles and squirrels, containers are much safer.

  19. Joshua says:

    Camas lilly is my favorite. Alas Tulips are deer food here.

  20. NancyML says:

    After moving into our new home on a wooded hillside, I set about planting hundreds of tulip bulbs. That was my first lesson on what deer love. The second was that deer-resistant plants don’t exist. Deer will eat just about anything, including roses… thorns and all… if they are hungry enough. Thankfully, they despise daffodils and won’t touch them. Three hundred more bulbs are waiting to be planted.

  21. Bulbs may be my favorite flowers, especially narcissus. Deer are not a problem in my garden but squirrels and chipmunks are. I scatter mothballs over a newly planted bulb bed to keep them away.

  22. T Lisle says:

    A gardener that had problems with groundhogs eating her tulip bulbs told me that she plants a wall of narcissus all around her tulips and it has been keeping the groundhogs away from the tulips.

  23. Helen B. says:

    Bulb tip: Mind your drainage.

  24. Becky Robert says:

    My favorite is Allium because they bridge that awkward season in the garden when the spring splendor is done and the summer plantings are just beginning to take on size.

    This year I am sending my usual bulb order to my sister as a belated wedding gift. She keeps asking me what she should plant the fall. Wait until 500 bulbs come to her door 😉

    Happy Planting All!

  25. Jessica H says:

    I use blood meal. Sadly I didn’t order any bulbs this year. Next year perhaps. I love crocuses, and hyacinths especially.

  26. Mike Earl says:

    Truth be told, I am a new gardener and have yet to plant any bulbs. So, I have no wisdom or lore to share. 😉

    From the bit of research I have done, my favorite so far are allliums. Specifically, I like the Mount Everest Allium.

  27. Barb K says:

    My favorite is the tulip Charming Beauty which lasts forever in our sometimes very warm springs. It also returns for many years because of our baking summers. I dig big holes for the tulips and daffodils and then fill them partially. I use the same hole, especially around the edges, for smaller bulbs such as muscari, ipheon and triteleia. The blues make a pretty show with the apricot tulip.

  28. filippine says:

    I wish that everybody, with a love for the esthetics of tulips, classically imported from the Netherlands, would just buy some reproductions of 17th century Dutch flower paintings instead of purchasing (too many) bulbs. I am sorry if that sounds harsh . I too, love to see flowering bulbs. I grew up in the seventies at the Dutch west coast, our house stood among the bulb fields and I have plenty of relatives who are still in the bulb business, exporting tons of bulbs, mostly to the USA. While I was young the tulip fields already attracted millions of tourists for their beauty. But we, as inhabitants of the area, more and more saw these flowering landscapes as chemical waste areas. In order to survive storage without rotting, the bulbs were treated with mercury containing compounds. At some point, we were not allowed to play in the bulb sheds of my uncle anymore, because they were considered unsafe. It is a little better today but still needs improvement (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2100770). Today many bulbs also contain neonicotinoids which affect the whole plant. I am not a militant environmental flower gardener, but I would like to suggest to choose naturalizing bulbs for this planting season. And if you buy native bulbs ( many types of iris, lilly, woodsorel, scilla etc), the local pollinators will actually know what to do with them!

  29. Debra Porter says:

    Allium for me

  30. Claire Splan says:

    I haven’t planted any new bulbs in a long time but this year I decided to add to my established narcissus and daff bulbs. My favorite bulb flower, however, is freesia. Best fragrance in the world!

  31. Carol says:

    I’m still waiting for my bulbs to be shipped… I went “light” this year… 500 Glory of the Snow for the lawn and 300 hybrid tulips to plant for show in the veg garden. I’ll rip the tulips out before I plant vegetables. My only tip is if it gets really late in the season and you haven’t planted your bulbs, suck it up and plant them anyway. I’ve never seen a tulip bulb burst forth and bloom in the bag it came in.

  32. Deborah Johnson says:

    Tulips, spring is here and nature is waking up from it’s winter sleep. Place chicken wire over bulbs so squirrels don’t take them away for winter use.

  33. Margaret whelton says:

    Not that I need more bulbs because I have quite a few of my own. It there could be some great ones that I never thought of. And how can you ever have enough bulbs? It would be an early Christmas present especially since I don’t normally order many tulips!!

  34. Hil Yeskey says:

    Narcissus are my favorite.

  35. Valerie says:

    I haven’t planted many tulips in my new garden because I figured the deer would get them. But we’ve been here a few years now and they leave my hostas alone so it’s worth a shot I think. My secret weapon for repelling deer is to spread bloodmeal around the perimeter of the garden every couple of weeks. Seems to be working.

  36. skr says:

    Lol. I just planted 1100 bulbs last weekend. Granted they were mostly Scilla and Crocus so it went quickly with a 3″ bulb auger.