Almost finished here. About 600 in the ground or—mostly—in pots and 300 to go. Many of the unplanted are tazettas that need little or no chilling period or hyacinths for the root cellar but I still have a bunch of muscari and species tulips to get into the ground before November is out.
This year I am most excited about:
•Madonna lilies, which I am trying again after one time ten years ago
•The double Hollyhock, Mulberry Rose, and Madame Sophie hyacinths from Old House Gardens (shown above)
•Parrot tulips, which forced really well last year. The fallen petals were as much of a display as the intact flowers; both longer-lasting than most tulips
Some sources say handling hyacinths can cause skin irritation; I plant a lot of them in pots, but always wear gloves and so have never noticed it. I did see that at many of the retail outlets special bags for pink hyacinths and tulips were being offered as part of the breast cancer awareness campaign.
Throughout October, pink was the preferred shade for a lot of things: pens, post-its, tee shirts, perfume, and pizza boxes. Questions have been raised about the percentage from the sale of such items that is actually used for cancer research. And many are sick of the pink everywhere, particularly if it doesn’t translate into green (as in money for research or as in nontoxic ingredients).
Given the link between environmental factors and cancers, I’d be more impressed if bulb companies reduced the pesticides used in producing their crops in order to promote general health. I was glad that none of the companies I ordered from did the pink bulb promotions. Though I do love my pink hyacinths—Hollyhock and Mulberry Rose (which arrived at my house with 2 inches of green showing).