There are several categories of bulb buying, I’m guessing.
First, there are those who just don’t bother. Maybe they have a persistent clump
of daffodils somewhere or maybe they don’t. Otherwise, they’ve given up on the
bulbs that deer and other bulb predators like to eat or mutilate, or they prefer
other types of plants.
Then, there are the ones who buy a couple bags in Costco or
Lowes and plant them in a perennial bed where their declining foliage or
possible failure to return will not be noticed.
We also have the connoisseurs, who buy only interesting
varieties of colchicum, galanthus, or species tulips, or perhaps those who
focus on North American bulbs like camassia, calochortus, or erythronium.
I’d guess too that certain gardeners just think of bulbs as
elements in a particular design and choose whichever color, shape and size will
work best. And, of course, all of us have to restrain ourselves a bit according
to whichever types our particular zone and conditions will support.
Then, there’s me. I buy over 500 bulbs every year. Some of
them go outside in the ground: mainly species tulips, ephemerals, and tight
groupings of hybrid tulips that will be pulled after bloom. Many go into big
pots in the garage and are brought out in the spring. Many more are forced
indoors, and are brought out from the root cellar in December through February.
The one thing I’ve learned from years of bulb planting is that you really need
a lot to make an impact—even the small ones should be widely scattered to have
that early spring wildflower effect.
What sort of bulb gardener are you? I’ve collaborated with
Old House Gardens to put together a bulb giveaway: a beautiful selection of hyacinths
and tazettas that will be sent to someone who comments.
The winner will be announced tomorrow by 5 p.m. (BTW, I chose hyacinths and tazettas thinking that I could encourage more people to try indoor forcing, but of course both can be grown outside.)
IDs on what you see here: These are mostly hyacinths I have ordered from Old House (Mulberry Rose, Double Madame Sophie, Menelik, King of the Blues, Double Hollyhock). The middle one in the bottom row is Woodstock, which I have ordered from John Scheepers.