Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, a classy outfit if there ever were one, has redesigned its website since last spring to take full advantage of the brute power of computers. Now, whenever you click on one of its offerings to investigate it, a column pops up to the side suggesting four or five other things that bloom at the same time. Useful.
Here is what makes it also special: The photos of the other offerings are large, so you can actually get an inkling of how these things might look together in a garden. There are many choices: every time I click on the ‘Nuit d’Ete’ dahlia, a different group of plants appears. I could be wrong about this, but the choices don’t appear to be made by computer. The color combinations and combinations of shapes suggested are invariably interesting.
This is brilliant marketing, of course. I find myself thinking, "How could I possibly order that dark red dahlia without that apricot-colored lily?"
I have only two complaints about Brent & Becky’s current offerings: not enough tall dahlias. These people are much too clued-in not to understand that for five months of the year, tall dahlias are total stars.
Second, the prices of the lilies seem to have gone through the roof. The letter in my paper catalog explains…
As you shop at the local hardware stores, grocery stores, and gas pumps, I’m sure you recognize how prices are increasing. The cost of producing any product, whether it be wheat, trees, or flower bulbs, is more today than it was last year. For items grown in the Netherlands, the Dollar/Euro exchange rate is also a big factor.
So even bulbs are not immune to larger economic and political forces. Nonetheless, it stings. I was used to paying about $45 for 25 lily bulbs. Now, everything I really want is $100 for 25 bulbs, forcing me to retrench and order merely 10 of a variety. Still, there are bargains. ‘Pink Giant’ Asiatic lilies, which top seven feet in my garden (see photo above) are just $50 for 25. If you have the soil for lilies, that is a lot of flash for relatively little money.