If you haven't already discovered Van Engelen's for bulbs, you should check them out! If you plant bulbs in your garden you already know that planting the packs of 10 that you get at the nursery makes very little impact in the garden. They're nice in a pot, though. However if you, like me, aspire to those blowsy, flower-filled, English gardens you know that it takes a lot of flowers to get there. That's why I love Van Engelen's - they sell to the public at wholesale prices and quantities. And, if you don't think you want 50-100 tulip bulbs you can always split an order with a friend. Although I have to say that after I did that the first year I realized that I really just wanted all them - 25 tulips that only bloom early in the season only take up about one square yard of flower bed.
Also, if you haven't yet discovered the beauty of shade-loving Fritillaria, now is the time. That is a Fritillaria Acmopetala at right. How sweet is that? On the left, above, is a Fritillaria Meleagris, or Checkerboard Lily. The petals really are checkered, so odd and so cute. They often come in a mix with the white Meleagris. The other great thing about these is that animals don't like to eat them! They're safe from deer and squirrels don't even eat the bulbs!
Also very cool and often high-impact are Allium. The blue ones on the left are Allium Azureum. They're short but verycute when massed. For high visibility, the 4 foot tall Allium Ambassador, below right, towers over most regular plants and they don't need staking. I have about 5 or 6 different Alliums and they're so fun.
I also have a great love for Lilies. The Asiatic lilies don't have the scent that Oriental and Trumpet Lilies do, so they're easier on my allergies. Last year, though, I decided the possiblility of suffering from allergies might be worth it and I tried some Oriental and Trumpet Lilies and so far my allergies haven't been any worse that usual.
The Lilies at right are Tigrinim Lily Pink Tiger and they've gotten so tall! Two of the plants are 4 feet high! I have to say that either they need a little staking or they should be planted near some dense, shorter plants to hold them up. But how gorgeous are they??? The other ones that look fabulous and have a nice cycling of bloom (I made that term up, I mean that they don't all bloom at the same time so I get a nice long period of looking at pretty flowers) is a Lily Mix. There are many types, here is a nice Oriental Lily Mix. I have something similar in my yard, except that my mix is Asiatic (there wasn't a picture for my specific mix, although you can look at the picture below, from my yard, and see them right at the beginning of the blooming period).
The other great thing about all these bulbs is that they are plant-them-and-forget-them flowers. All the ones I've mention so far come back year after year and I don't need to do anything to them.
The ones that don't come back year after year, necessarily, are the Parrot Tulips that I love. Many of those species are one to two year bulbs only, unfortunately. There are tulips that "naturalize" or come back year after year - they're just not the ones that I'm interested in! The tulips at right are Parrot Tulips called Tulipa Green Wave. Aren't they amazing? The other tulips I like to get are the Parrot Tulip Mixes, you just won't believe how fabulous a whole bunch of Parrot Tulips look - and they bloom before other flowers do, so you get that nice spring hope. You know what I mean?
Gotta dash - more later, on non-flower related topics and my Gratitude Journal.