Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Bulb Brigade

 Monsella Tulips

 When the chilly days of April arrived, they must have decided this was a fine place to sit a spell. Because the only thing reflecting the true season is the calendar hanging on my office wall.


May has been unseasonably cold, wet, windy... though it's not all negative. Thanks to my tough as nails spring bulbs.

Oh, I'll never beat Mother Nature at her well-honed game but my mountain gardens are reaching a point where they can give her a good run for her money.

 Gladiator Allium

Bulbs, it seems, are this gardening gal's best friend. I coax, coddle and cajole spring blooming perennials, to no avail. They'll wait to flower when the soil warms up ~ in the mountains that could take until June.

 Blue Star Flowers refuse to photograph well but they're quite cute along a walkway.

Allium Schubertii looks like I stole her from the Starship Enterprise, but I still think she's kind of cool.

Bulbs, on the other hand, don't seem nearly as dependent upon warm weather. By the end of April they start blooming no matter how hard it snows. (Sometimes they bloom underneath the snow!)

Replete Daffodils 
(See below: Advertised as a stunning pink and white combo - don't fall for those catalog pics!)

Replete Daffodils - in the catalog.

If you live in a challenging environment, maybe give bulbs a second look? They can turn the very worst garden into a talk of the town, spring blooming extravaganza.  (When I say 'worst garden' I'm referring to my place, not yours. :)

* Hot Tip: Plant 20 cheap daffs for every cool bulb you invest in. That way hungry critters won't discover your great grub.


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

The bulbs go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah! Love all your spring color.

JOHN SHORTLAND, Cotswold Hills, England. said...

Hi Kate

We've been having a cold - and frosty - May which is fairly unusual here. Unlike you, we've had little rain. But we're still fed up that winter just wn't go away completely!

I've grown most of the bulbs you show at some time (even a pink version of the repletes!). Somehow, my Monsela tulips never looked as stunning or as exotic as the one in your photograph. Perhaps next time...

Great idea about planting cheap bulbs as 'bait'. I shall certainly do this in future.


Christine B. said...

I bet the bulb companies would tell you your bulbs were "reversions," "sports," or "mislabelled." They would never admit to photoshopping the daff colors, would they? I have to stick with planting the miniature types. The big guys rot for me.

The only perennials doing anything of note are the bergenias, which are blooming: hurrah!

Christine in Alaska

caite said...

love, love, love that first tulip. I need to plant some of those....

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Monica;
You said it, gal! I've been trying to plant at least 100 bulbs every autumn. 7 years x 100 = a lot! :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Johnson;
Sorry, to hear that your weather has been more winter-like than summer. I hope sweet Barney is handling things okay...

PS: Glad to hear someone has had good luck with the pink repletes. :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Yay, Christine! You've got flowers! It's probably colder here than it is in Alaska tonight... :((

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thanks, Caite;
That tulip is a favorite of mine, too. And, surprisingly easy to grow. :)

jan said...

I love bulbs, too! I usually forget what is planted, though! I am always surprised in the spring!

sweetbay said...

I never trust the pictures in certain catalogs. Lovely spring bulbs; I especially like the tulip and Camassia.

Wendy said...

I love your hot tip! that's really smart.

So my schubertii has fully opened up. Geez louise!! That thing is big! I've been trying to photograph it, but because it's so airy, I feel like a photo (at least one I take) can't do it justice. Your other bulbs are great too!