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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.

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

Elizabeth Licata
on October 18, 2016 at 9:21 am, in the category Uncategorized.


  1. 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.

  2. 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!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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