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BONNIE'S GARDEN--I Never Met a Bulb I Didn't Like...

Every single fall, I’ll have customers come in, asking what my favorite bulbs are.  I fall in love with one bulb or another all the time—every single year, a new variety of an old favorite shows up and I just have to have it.  But, over the years, I’ve come up with a number of consistent favorites—ones that have stood the test of time—and my neglect!  So here is my current top-ten list.

10:  Alliums—Ornamental onions!  And, because of their oniony taste, critters don’t like them.  From the 10” tall minis to the 4 to 5 foot tall giants with huge 8 to 10 in flower heads, I always save a sunny patch for these.

9.  Hyacinths—A rainbow of colors, a delectable fragrance, and pest resistance.  Need I say more?

8.  Lycoris (Spider Flowers, Naked Ladies, Surprise Lilies)—Tall dramatic flowers appearing out of nowhere in early fall.  Related to daffodils, nothing eats these either!  The pretty spidery red ones are called Spider Lilies and the pink lily-like ones are called Naked Ladies.

7.  Snowdrops—Dainty, old-fashioned nodding white flowers often bloom through February snows (sometimes even appearing in January!)  Naturalized in my lawn, they’re another daffodil relative—no pests!

6.  Muscari (Grape Hyacinths)—They come in white and shades of blue, from the silvery-blue of Valerie Finnis to the rich royal blue of the traditional Armeniacum.  They tolerate shade, are pest-resistant, and naturalize. 

5.  Leucojum (Spring Snowflake)—Leucojum are yet another daffodil relative that looks for all the world like a Snowdrop on steroids.  They stand about 12 or so inches tall, with nodding white flowers and, like all daffodil family members, are pest-proof.

4.  Tulips—With nearly every color in the rainbows, fun shapes and varieties to choose between, and varieties that bloom anywhere from March to May, these will always make my list.  I have a special fondness for the diminutive specie varieties that open up like little glossy stars in the sun.

3.  Daffodils—I love them all, though I must admit a soft spot for the fragrant and multi-flowered jonquillas and Tazettas and for the fun and unusual specie varieties.  They’re pretty, durable and pest-resistant.

2.  Ipheion Uniflora (Spring Starflower)—I can’t say enough good things about this one.  Fragrant flowers in lavender or shades of blue last a long time in mid-spring.  They naturalize readily, tolerate part-shade, and are pest-resistant.

1.  Spanish Bluebells, Wood Hyacinths (Hyacinthoides Hispanica)-Late spring long-lasting blooms in blue, pink or white are hardy, durable, pest-resistant and shade tolerant.  Beautiful naturalizers.

I know I said this was a top-ten list, but I really can’t leave out showy, easy, deer-resistant and intensely fragrant peonies; graceful, hardy and pest-resistant iris; any crocus (any color, anywhere); dramatic and gorgeous and pest-resistant Crown Imperials; elegant, shade tolerant and amazing Martagon Lilies. 

I’ve never met a bulb I didn’t like.  They are easy, inexpensive and summer-drought tolerant.  Many are pest-resistant, perennial and all are terrific for the lazy gardener—plant and forget.  Or, to quote the Dutch Bulb Growers Association “Dig, Drop, Done.”
Posted: 10/12/2015 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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