Gardening Glimpses

By MRS. HERMAN MCKENZIE,

I told you last week I’d talk about my humongous daffodil bulb order I made right at the July l deadline, a shopping spree I look forward to every year, always allowing myself extras, for various reasons.

First, my July l shopping is from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, a four-generation (and counting) order firm in Gloucester, Virginia. Their catalog is different from the usual bulb catalog, which just features head-shots of flowers.

Instead, from the beginning of the color catalog, the pictures have been taken by Brent, in the garden, of each flower. To look perfect in the garden isn’t nearly as easy, so you can tell more of what the flower will look like in your own garden. But also the blooms are softened by the flowers growing around the bulb, companion plantings always a specialty. You will notice that the tulip pictures don’t fit this focus, as they are solo stars. Probably because tulips are a one-time flower, not given to growing back another year, and certainly never with the same simple elegance. The only tulips, probably 20 total bulbs of 75 different orderings, were three or four green ones, which I had learned to love when Mary Price and I went to Brian Duncan’s garden in Northern Ireland in 2001, a good climate zone for tulips which our Zone 7b/8a is not. These will be planted in individual pots, maybe with a ruffling of pansies at the base of the plant, and likely used indoors. When the bloom is gone, the bulb is thrown away.

 

How did I choose which bulbs I wanted to order? First, I chose my most favorite of their offerings—and right now it is the new “Sensation” series, now totaling four, which are triandrus, division five cultivars, the division of all 13 different classifications which needed some boosting - and these new offerings, had already won me over—the ‘Moonlight Sensation, ‘a pale yellow, the first one, ‘Sunlight Sensation,’ pure yellow but paler than the assertive gold of most yellow daffodils, and my favorite from the beginning, the pure white ‘Starlight Sensation,’ which I had liked well enough the first year to order three dozen.

 So you can imagine my delight, last spring, at the 50th anniversary celebration of the world-renowned Philadelphia Flower Show, which Brent and Becky entered for the first time, for my favorite “Starlight Sensation’ to win top honors in the entire show.

Becky explained that the great pot of beautiful white flowers, grown by a long-time customer of theirs, was so floriferous that it dominated all of the other entries.

I don’t remember right now how many new bulbs of these division five favorites I ordered, probably another three dozen, but it was not the only big ticket cultivar.

One of the nicest things the Heaths did, probably 20 years ago, was to price all the daffodils five-to-a-package, so customers could have a decent showing.

What else did my ordering show about my current planting preferences? Lots of white flowers, but also lots of whites with an orange cup.

And then my order included lots of five-packs of what may traditionally be called the “minor” bulbs, from the hyacinths on down to the galanthus.

Also, I went back and ordered five-packs of my favorites from all of the divisions. Chose not to duplicate anything that was on great-grandson Mason’s list, nor of Vicki McKay’s list, which she said might as well come here, since she would be planting them in our garden.

 

Carolyn Nunley King, my dear friend who doesn’t garden, but is the daughter of one of the great hands-on gardeners I’ve ever known, the late Weytha Nunley, just came back by the computer and asked, “Did you really spend seven hundred dollars on bulbs?”

I assured her that I did, and wasn’t a bit sorry. She just shook her head in disbelief.

If you call yourself a gardener, you ought to call the Heaths tomorrow, at 1-877-661-2852, and ask them to send you your own catalog. You say that the 10 percent off sale is over, but the prices are comparable with all the other bulb catalogs, and you get such a great selection.

What you are asking for is the fall planting 2018, 2019 Spring Flowering catalog. Of course you should tell them also to send you the other catalog, for the Fall Planting 2017, Spring Flowering 2018, so you will have a complete reference list.

But be sure to tell whomever you talk to to put you on the regular catalog mailing list.

And then watch your mailbox, in early January, for next spring’s catalog. Because it will have its own early 10 percent off deadline, either March 1 or April l. I usually can be very systematic, knowing I have to get my caladiums ordered. It’s just my daffodil deadline

That blows my mind.

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