Wish Elizabeth Could Have Been There!



At this point in the winter, the very IDEA of flowers makes me so crazy, that I spent $25 on one of the above bulbs at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, after a bit of chat with the superbly knowledgable young guy whose uncle owns Dutch bulb wholesaler Doornbosch Brothers.

It's a purple-striped crinum, hardy only to Zone 9, but I've been assured, it will do fine in a pot.  Do I even really care?  At this stage of winter, the very IDEA of a purple-striped crinum that produces dozens of flowers when it blooms is intoxicating.  So necessary, that it's worth stuffing a smelly 15-pound bulb into the luggage.


Doornbosch Brothers had loads of other cool things not really obtainable from conventional channels, including the giant disks of hardy cyclamen above.  To me, this kind of shopping is the whole point of a flower show.  I don't understand why more plant vendors aren't at them.


  1. Amen Garden Sister. I had both hands full of bulbs when I left Indy Monday. After a bit all the garden shows look the same. But the shopping is the best and I love meeting other gardeners. I am excited to have a few new things myself. Wish I had some of those hearty cyclamens!

  2. Hang in there! It won’t be too much longer. Crinums are fun bulbs. Read the chapter in Scott Ogden’s Garden Bulbs for the South. It’s way interesting and sorts out the history and relationships.

  3. Looks very cool Michele! Last year at the local show I bought two big things that looked like coconuts and they produced a huge crop of tropical foliage all summer long. In the basement now and I think they’ll come back.

    I also ordered amarcrinum which was disappointing–just leaves, no flower. Overwintered that, hoping it will do its thing this summer.

    Headed for the Rochester show tomorrow; planning to buy plenty of whatever is there.

  4. Good luck with the Rochester show, Eliz – there hasn’t been much worth buying there in terms of plant material in years. The sort of stuff Michele is showing is what you find up in Toronto at the Canada Blooms show. Now THAT’S a flower show….

    Maybe some day the Rochester show will return to the great event it used to be once upon a time.

  5. As much as I enjoy the display gardens, I really go for the vendors. I came home from the Seattle show with a yellow species peony and a yellow, hardy, ground orchid. There were a couple of other things I wanted, but they’d sold out. Fortunately, I found that particular vendor isn’t so far away that I can’t make it a day trip.

  6. waaaaaaaaaaaa! I couldn’t make it to Philly – so no extravagant purchases to haul home on the train this year. As I’ve said before a lot of what’s for sale has a “luckybambooishness” about it but there is this one vendor back in the corner that sells the really oddball stuff. Oh well, next year.

    A friend that ran the booth I used to work at selling bulbs at the Philly show, didn’t do one this year because he said that when he really looked at the numbers it didn’t make money as much as it appeared to on the surface. This could be why a lot of true plant vendors no longer man a booth at Garden Shows. Booth rentals are expensive and getting the stock delivered on time is a hassle.

  7. I, too, was tempted by the Doornbosch Brothers. I ended up with some voodoo lilies in my suitcase. They put a spell on me. 😉

  8. We bought a voodoo lily too at the show. It’s so ugly it’s cool. My old boss used to have a booth at the Chicago show for years but he said the prices to rent space were absolutely ridiculous. The bulb guy Doornbosch has been there for several years and he has cool stuff but a lot of the folks that used to be fixtures are no longer and it has become a show full of junk. Thank goodness Rich’s Foxwillow Pines is still there.

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