Last Call Fall Bulbs – in case you share my “can’t say no” problem

Allium christophii, aka Star of Persia

Allium christophii, aka A. albopilosum, aka Star of Persia. A prolific self-sower, among its other virtues, though succeeding generations are smaller than the originals. Also a bit less intensely purple than my camera wants you to believe.

Pop Quiz

1) How many spring-blooming bulbs is too many?

2) How many spring-blooming bulbs is there room for?

3) How many spring-blooming bulbs must be planted before there are enough to cut for the house without diminishing the outdoor show?

Around here, the answer to all three questions is “Who knows?” Several thousand into it I’m not there yet, and that’s not counting the little guys (crocus, muscarii, scilla and the like don’t even show up until there are thousands – unless you force them, which I heartily recommend).

Reason for mentioning it now, when even procrastinators – no names please – have usually gotten all of them in: CLEARANCE SALES!!

Two of my favorite Mail-order Sources are in final get rid of ‘em mode:

Brent and Becky’s, home of gazilllions of nifty narcissi as well as a wide selection of less-usual crocus and other things. Half-price while they last or until 12/05, whichever comes first.

Van Engelen, wholesale quantities and no slouch in the choice department either. Minimum order $50.00, a distressingly easy target. Forty percent off until they run out. Quantity bulbs can be “estate size,” which is to say on the small side; don’t forget to check sizes when ordering.

It being after Thanksgiving, most garden centers have already gone All Christmas All the Time, but every once in a while there’s a bin or two of orphans. And every once in a while they’re worth buying.  But not alas all that often. I’m disappointed almost every time I start inspecting them carefully for shrinkage, mold, etc.

Storage in the warm drought of sales rooms is just about the opposite of ideal, and of course anything in open bins could indeed be anything. (People who just toss their rejects into any old bin are not rare, unfortunately.)

pink lily-flowered tulip in astilbe foliage

This lily flowered mystery been coming back for years, as sturdy as the astilbe I probably planted later.

In our gardens, lily flowered tulips are among the more reliable returners. Catalogs don’t seem to list this among their virtues, so our situation may be unique. But it’s something to think about. A few other Tulip Tips are here.

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1 Comment »

  • I had one, only one, tulip that kept coming back for years–over 15 I think. We have many squirrels and some moles, so I think they quickly found all the rest I’d planted originally. This year even the one survivor apparently didn’t, so I had no tulips at all. BUT, I just planted a sale bag, so at least for a couple years will have some again.

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