Don’t let this happen to you



After careful perusal of my bulb orders of the last few weeks, I find, with some horror, that I have ordered 430 bulbs. Yeah. I know.

How does such a thing happen? I’ll tell my story in the hopes that some of you may be able to avoid this fate. First, here’s the tally.

40 tazetta narcissus (Martinette, Grand Soleil, Inbal, Golden Rain)
25 galanthus (ordinary type)
15 lilies (Amazing, Honeymoon, Touching)
60 hyacinths (Carnegie, Raphael, Isabelle)
100 single lates (Blushing Lady, Mrs. Scheepers)
100 triumphs (Negrita, Amazone)
40 double lates (Orange Princess, Black Hero, Yellow Mountain)
50 species tulips (t. biflora, turkistanica, vvedenskyi)

The single lates fill two large raised beds in the front, 50 a bed, so that’s fine. They are composted at the end of the season, as summer shade and the nature of hybrid tulips make it unlikely that they will return successfully. The triumphs and hyacinths are used for forcing, containers, and one front planting. The number of triumphs MIGHT be high, but I know I will get through the hyacinths, as I use them as gifts, with 3 to 4 in a pot, and in special forcing vases.

I think 10 t. marjolettis were purchased only so that an order would get to the necessary $35. The tazettas? Should be fine; those are all forced.

But some of this is just crazy. The double lates were purchased purely on impulse because Michele mentioned Orange Princess. It kind of developed from there. Thanks, Michele. I have no idea where I will put them. The galanthus came about because I paved over a bunch of them and I really miss them. The lilies are pure obsessive insanity and I will have one hell of a time finding sunny space for them.

I’m not done. There are some tazettas to get from Old House and the Lily Garden catalog has not even arrived. Forget it—there’s no hope for me. Save yourselves.

And I’m a little embarrassed by the lily names.

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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. Don’t feel bad! You are not alone. I can’t count mine because they have not all arrived. What can I say? It was spring, the heady aroma of the resident bulbs was in the air and then there were the discounts. We’re not made of stone and the temptation was overwhelming. Now where was I going to put those giant alliums?

  2. Too late! Too late! Well, not this year. But I have ordered hundreds of bulbs on several occasions. I keep myself under control for several years, and then….. I hope the people who’ve bought houses from me appreciate their Spring displays….

  3. There’s a Lily Garden catalog? Dang it, I wish I didn’t know that.

    I just calculated my Scheepers order, and I have only 200 or so bulbs to plant, including L. Honeymoon.

  4. There’s no blushing smilie here, but you are not alone. Hello, my name is Kim and I’m a bulb-a-holic . . . . .

    49 Alliums of different types
    4 Camassia
    55 Daffodils of different types
    3 Lilies (added to the 20 I bought in the spring. No Honeymoon or Touching, but I must have a travel bug – Nippon, Sorbonne, Acapulco . . .)
    10 Muscari
    10 Hyacinthoides non-scripta
    10 specie tulips
    Aaaaahhhhhhh, only 141. I see I’m a lightweight, but I do have to admit all this is for one small border to tuck in amongst the perennials. I guess I need that blushing smilie worse than I thought.

  5. “Hi, Elizabeth” (group hello heard from a side room rented at the community center, coffee percolating on the side, self-help literature on the table by the door, old-timers and sponsors nodding their heads knowingly).
    I think I have the following:

    12 bearded iris
    100+ narcissus
    whole lotta ornamental onion
    other stuff, I forget what

    I need a meeting.

  6. It helps to know where to find them cheap – I can’t believe the differences in prices out there. I ordered from Bluestone Perennials, which wasn’t the cheapest place, but since I was ordering perennials anyway . . . . . . You can oftentimes order from a reputable bulb company and get better quality bulbs more cheaply than you can get them from your local big box.

    Oh. I’m enabling, aren’t I? Sorry. We need to get back to our support meeting. See, I DO need that blushing smilie.

  7. Elizabeth, you are clearly not alone in this problem. It always amazes me how fiscal discipline flies out the window when I order bulbs. There is no way I’d spend $500 on a cast iron urn right now–but on tulips that will last three weeks and then disappear? Sure.

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