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BONNIE"S GARDEN--Fragrant Bulbs

When I smell honeysuckle, I think of summer evenings in the country at Grandma’s.  They had a bank of honeysuckle around the side of the house.  When I smell lilacs, I think of the bush at the end of the driveway in the house I grew up in.  My Dad loved that bush.  And when I smell Oriental lilies, I think of my mother, who loved those exotically fragrant flowers and would cut just one or two and bring them in the house in a vase.

When I think of some of my favorite bulbs, I’ve noticed that most of them are fragrant.  I also get a lot of questions about which bulbs are fragrant, so I’m obviously not the only one who wants a feast for my nose.  So here is a list of the bulbs that I carry this time of year at the Great Big Greenhouse which are fragrant.  And—most of these are on my top-ten favorite list.  Imagine that…

Hyacinthoides non-scripta—English Bluebells—Shade tolerant rich blue flowers usually bloom in mid-April.  These have naturalized freely down the hillsides in England, hence the nickname English Bluebells.  Pest resistant.

Ipheion (Spring Starflower)—One of my favorite bulbs, Starflowers bloom for as long as a month or more in mid-Spring.  They are pest-resistant, durable and tolerant of part-shade.

Muscari—Grape Hyacinths.  Grape hyacinths naturalize readily into beautiful drifts.  They tolerate shade and are pest-resistant.

Dwarf Iris—Dwarf iris come in yellow or shades of blue and bloom around the same time as crocus.  All have a sweet violet-like scent.  Deer don’t eat them either.

Narcissus aka daffodils—Not all daffodils are very fragrant but some are.  Look for Cheerfulness, Yellow Cheerfulness, Erlicheer, and Thalia.  Jonquil-type daffodils are multiflowering and sweetly fragrant.  Look for Quail, New Baby, Pipit, Baby Moon, Sun Disc, and O’Bodkin.  Tazetta-type daffodils are closely related to the paperwhites we force for indoor bloom. They have small but plentiful flowers. Look for Martinette, Avalanche, Minnow and Geranium. A specie daffodil, Canaliculatus, is a diminutive little white and yellow daff—only 4 to 6” tall—with big fragrance.  Some beautiful double-flowering daffodils—like Obdam (double white), Tahit (double yellow with orange center), and White Lion (double white with yellow center) are all fragrant and—like all daffodils—are pest-resistant.

Fragrant tulips to look for are Princess Irene—a lovely bi-color March bloomer with orange flower flamed with burgundy, Exotic Emperor (white with green feathers), Apricot Beauty (peachy-pink March-April bloom), Silverstream (a variegated flower—white with soft yellow/peach streaks and pretty variegated foliage.  Mid-April bloom), Olympic Flame (bright yellow with red streaks), Golden Oxford (bright yellow, April bloom), Late blooming tulips—Angelique (double flowered pink), Mount Tacoma (double white), and Blue Spectacle (double lavender). 

Oriental Lilies—you can get lily bulbs in the spring or this time of year and all of those mid-summer bloomers are exotically fragrant.  I especially love Stargazer with upward facing raspberry pink flowers with a white edge and Casa Blanca, a pure glistening white.

Hyacinths—Of course we can’t forget the Queen of Fragrant bulbs—the hyacinths.  They come in a rainbow of colors from white to deep purple, they’re pest-resistant and all are intensely fragrant.

I love bulbs because they are a banquet of color for the eyes—after a cold gray winter.  What could be better than to delight the eyes AND the nose?
Posted: 10/13/2014 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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