Regarding bulb comix, property values, and evil red mulch



HT Peter Hoh for drawing my attention to this amazing vintage comic book website which includes, incredibly enough, a 1956 comic book promoting Dutch tulip bulbs. It will not take you long to click through this hilarious work of literature yourself, so I’ll just briefly explain that the action involves one businessman on a commuter train telling another about how he planted bulbs on his property and was then able to sell his house immediately.

It’s all very silly, but two points seem to be stressed. One: it’s necessary to plan a bulb planting. Like so (from the book):

Simple! We’ll make a rough sketch of our grounds, and draw in the locations for the various flowers! We can use tulips along the path, hyacinths in the foundation planting, daffodils around the trees … Wait, let me get a pencil and paper!

We’ve moved beyond—well, we’re including more options than—daffodils in a circle and tulips in a row these days, with swaths, rivers, scattered three- and fivesomes, and many other planting schemes on the table. I suppose some people use a pencil and paper to plan bulb plantings, but I suspect most don’t think it necessary these days.

The concept of curb appeal, though, hasn’t changed. I saw this scary suggestion from a realtor in a recent article: “Remember, how you maintain your yard is how people will think you maintain your house inside.” Yikes! But I’m not so sure. I’m actually quite doubtful creative landscaping will go too far toward selling an otherwise slow-moving property—and speaking from personal experience I know that we paid no attention, and did not, in fact, realize what was planted around the house until it came up again the next year. At which point, we got rid of most of it. You will still find realtors and nursery professionals repeating the curb appeal via landscaping mantra everywhere, but I think the house and the location are what get the sale done.

I’ve waited until now to mention the blog where Peter found the comix link, the delightful Kiss My Aster, where I found plenty of funny stuff, like this: I hate red mulch. It will go down on my tombstone. Is it supposed to emulate Redwood trees shredded and mulched in your garden? Because that’s plain sick.


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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. Ha! My mom just visited, looked at the tulips in front of my house and announced, “Too bad the inside doesn’t look like the outside!”

  2. My mom always says the same thing! Although it’s usually a little more guilt inducing, like “if you only spent as much time working inside as you do outside”

    She’s a jewish mother, really what else would i expect?

  3. For all you gardening-lovers, kudos to you – gardening is so good for the environment (and great for curb-appeal)! But before you start any project, don’t forget to call 811 before you dig! It’s important to make sure there aren’t any underground utility lines where you want to plant. Check out our site for more info:

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