If you didn’t guess immediately what that number signified, then
you probably have been ignoring my yearly bulb obsessing. That I freely express
here. For your amusement.

(You know, it is really a good thing that my husband never
reads this blog.)

Of the 621, 280 are hybrid tulips, 100 hyacinths (all for
forcing), 110 are narcissus, 50 are species tulips, and the rest are lilies and
various small bulbs.  A lot of the
hybrids will go in big containers or all together in a big hole for spring
drama. I think about half of the narcissus are tazettas for forcing. I also think I’ll
likely be buying more lilies and maybe some more tazettas and hyacinths. 100
forced hyacinths do not take up as much space as you might suppose, and we have
a big root cellar.

Unlike Michele, I will not really be saving money by
planting all this, unless you count the forced bulbs given as gifts—they are
somewhat impressive as gifts unless they fail (and I buy some risky
varieties). But I did figure out that I will get at least 6 months of enjoyment
from these. I am spending something like 600. So that’s more than we spend on car
insurance, gas, and a lot of other necessary expenses from which I derive very
little enjoyment.

Interestingly, only a portion of the enjoyment is from
actually watching the bulbs flower—though that is exciting (especially the exotic
ones). It is the planning the buying, the planting in pots, the timed removals
from the root cellar, the pleasure of using vintage hyacinth vases, and the
indoor watching as the forced ones develop—and then the outdoor watching as the
others come up.

Well worth it.

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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 yahoo.com


  1. Good for you. So far, I am at 1483. I have an order for 1,000 crocus tommasinianus, that takes up a good chunk of the 1483. And means that I didn’t spend quite as much money. But there is still hope, there are lots to check out at the big box stores, maybe they will go on sale soon!

  2. I’m trying to decide if it’s cruel to send my 60 year old parents 200 tulips as a gift. Thing is, they’ll have to plant them. But come May the agony will be worth it, right?

  3. I also ordered a lot of Tommies-1100 with another 300 or so of tulips, muscari and assorted pretties. I like the big hole planting technique.

  4. I’m just not going to count… it’s better that way (no guilt) plus my husband does read my blog, so there might be an issue 🙂

  5. Yes, if I did crocuses, especially those small Tommies, I would easily be in 4 figures. I have never warmed up to them though. Too early–look too ratty with bad weather. At least in my area. In the country might be different.

  6. I do not know if to congratulate or commiserate you USA people dropping by garden rant.

    I do not BUY anything anywhere. I PROPAGATE by any means what I want.

    Until then…

  7. Carpetbag, you can suggest to your folks to use our “berm” method. We have concrete-hard clay soil and the prospect of digging holes for the 1600+ bulbs we put in last fall was overwhelming. So, we bought bags of topsoil, manure and mulch. Put down a 1 inch layer of soil with manure, set the bulbs down, poured enough soil on to cover the bulbs, then mulched heavily. Worked beautifully!

  8. I like that berm idea. I accidentally bought a bag of garden soil instead of potting soil. I could use that to create a small berm. I could even accidentally buy more garden soil. I love the small bulbs like tommies, but you do have to plant them in large numbers. They’re fabulous in drifts.

  9. It is well worth it especially when you live in a cold climate. Even in Oklahoma, I’m grateful when I have some indoor bulbs come bleak, gray February. After all, the tinsel is all gone. The tree is down, and Valentine’s Day is frankly a yearly disappointment (not because of my husband, but just because). I’m with you on bulbs. I think I’ve bought about 500 this year.

    You are partly to blame. LOL. You taught me to love them even more.

  10. This is Cathy husband Dave ,I always thought highly of a tulip garden and wanted one .I am stuck in a yard with mostly shade.Been lucky to have made English garden for first time in my life ,turn great had colors spring through October.Our next house were going to area of full sun so I can enjoy a tulip garden.Your tulips are very beautiful to look at thank”s Dave Sutton.

  11. Here in So. Calif tulips need to be prechilled. Bulbs arrived last week and are tucked in the produce drawer of the fridge until the day after Thanksgiving, when they’ll be potted up. And yes, they are so worth the “trouble.”

  12. heehee. Although we are only temporarily in this house I still sent for 100 Rejnveld’s Early Sensation narcissus b/c they bloom in JANUARY here in Atlanta.

    Carpetbag, 60 is the new 40; send the bulbs!

    Michele, your justification is the best comment!

  13. Having a flower that you worked hard to grow is far far better than having one that someone else grew. I totally agree that the work you put in is at least 75% of the joy as when it finally blooms.

  14. Okay, twist my arm, 200 tulips are on their way to Michigan. Maybe I’ll plant them when I’m home for Thanksgiving.

  15. 1120 is mot count for the year. Plus another 100 or so daffs from ones I had to divide.

    To be fair, though, this is only my second year for planting bulbs at this house.

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