Monday, October 7, 2019

Unboxing...


I love surprises especially the kind that are delivered by the post office in a box 😃.

This week, I received one such mystery box.  What made this package a surprise was not so much the receiving part (I knew it was coming at some point as I had ordered it waaaaaay back in July) but rather, what was inside.  I ordered so long ago, I completely forgot what I had ordered.

Anticipation....

I could have looked at my order online at any point in the past few months...but I didn't.  Why?  Because I thought it would be more fun to surprise myself with what was in the box come the fall.

Almost there...

Now what in the plant world is ordered in the summer but not shipped out until the fall?  Spring bulbs, of course!  And I ordered a whole whack of them.

So excited to see what goodies are in here!

Up until last year, we only had a few spring bulbs in the garden.  Some where here when we moved in (a handful of daffodils and hyacinth) while the rest were a gift several years ago from my mom (the tulips along our front walkway).  Each and every year I have said to myself..."this year, I'll plant more bulbs".  Then the year comes and goes....fall is such a busy time with harvests and cleanup that I always let the "unessential" items on the to-do list slide.

Last year, however, I was at a checkout in late summer and saw a sale bin of Crocus bulbs.  Being that I can't resist a good sale, especially when it comes to plants, I dove in and grabbed a bunch of bags.  Of course, once I had them in hand, they had to go into the ground, regardless of how busy I was with other things.

When spring arrived, these tiny crocuses greeted me with their cheery colours.

Tiny but cheery sign that winter is almost over...

That's when I decided that if I was going to get more spring bulbs into the ground anytime soon, I would have to do the exact same thing I did with the crocuses - buy them regardless of whether or not I thought I would have the time to get them into the ground.  Then, once fall arrived, I would have to MAKE the time. And here we are...it's time for the unboxing 😃

I ordered 11 different bulbs in all.  Now, in order to get a truly grand show in the bulb department, you need a LOT of bulbs but I decided to stick with one package each.  Not only does this keep the cost down (it adds up quickly!), but I would also like to see how they do in the garden.  I'm sure there will be some that I love and end up purchasing more of, while I'll be happy with a "single serving" of others.

So here is the low-down on what was in the box...

Crocus chrys. 'Prins Claus' and Anemone blanda

Crocus chrys. 'Prins Claus' - 4" tall, white flowers with dark purple base; blooms in early-mid April

Anemone blanda - A mix of white and blue anemone that stand 4-6" tall; blooms in early May.

Scilla siberica species and 'Alba'

Scilla siberica - The species blue and a white Siberian squill, both stand 6" tall and bloom in late April/early May (**These will more than likely be planted into pots - see my "Scilla Quandry" below)

Puschkinia var. Libanotica (aka Striped Squill) and Iris Reticulata 'Joyce'

Puschkinia var. Libanotica - Light blue flowers stand 4-8" tall; blooms in late April/early May

Iris Reticulata Joyce - Small blue flowers and only 6" tall; blooms in early-mid April

Narcissus 'Blushing Lady' and 'Pueblo'

Narcissus 'Blushing Lady' - Light yellow with peachy centers & 14" tall; blooms in early May.

Narcissus 'Pueblo' - Bright white blooms on 10" stems; blooms in late April/early May.

Narcissus 'Stainless' and Tulip 'Angelique'

Narcissus 'Stainless' - Stands 16" tall with white flowers; blooms late April/early May.

Tulip 'Angelique' - My favourite! A double with pale pink blooms & 18" tall; blooms mid-late May.

Tulips 'World Friendship' and 'Honky Tonk'

Tulip 'World Friendship' - Very pale yellow and over 20" tall; blooms mid-late May.

Tulip 'Honky Tonk' - Short (only 8" tall), pale yellow petals with pinkish streak; blooms in Early May.

Hyacinth 'Carnegie Mix' and bonus gift of Muscari armeniacum

Hyacinth 'Carnegie Mix' - White hyacinth that is 10" tall; blooms late April to early May.

A free gift with my order:  Muscari armeniacum (**) - Blue grape hyacinth that stands 4-8" tall; blooms mid-late May.

** The Scilla Quandry

I always do my research when purchasing a new-to-me plant so I'm not sure what happened in this case but I have since realized that Scilla siberica may be invasive.  Many articles don't mention the possibility of invasiveness at all (like THIS one) while others indicate that it's just fine if you don't plant it near a natural woodland (see this Iowa State University article).  Even though Siberian squill does go dormant after flowering, the Minnesota Wildflowers site urges people not to plant it in their landscape at all.  They contend that Siberian squill tends to escape into the wild & choke out native ephemerals.

I would rather err on the side of caution in this case, so I've decided to plant these in pots. Puschkinia (Striped squill) is related to Scilla siberica but, while there are numerous references about Siberian squill being invasive, I was hard pressed to find the same warnings about Striped Squill. It is supposed to naturalize, but I've seen several comments where folks specifically say that they do not consider it aggressive (or 'spready') in the same manner as Siberian squill.  I've decided to plant it in the garden...and then proceed to cross my fingers that I don't regret it!

And since I'm on the topic of aggressive spreaders, unfortunately, the "free gift" that I received with my bulb order would fall into that category.  There are muscari cultivars that are not aggressive, but this is not one of them.  So unfortunately, this one will not end up in the garden, but will go into a pot, just like the Siberian squill.  Do you have any of these in your garden?  If so, I would love to know if you consider them a friend or foe in the comments below.

This coming week, I'll be planting these into the ground (or in pots).  It's going to be a colourful spring next year....

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

14 comments:

  1. I have a very similar reaction to my bulb orders, Margaret - there's such a delay between the selection and delivery that I'm generally surprised when they arrive. Most of my orders are still pending but I know I didn't order anything like the number you did! I'm still eyeing a pretty Narcissus featured in a catalog I just received, however. Because we don't get a "real" winter, I can't grow bulbs like tulips (except as annuals) but Narcissus do relatively well. I've yet to find any bulbs that are invasive here.

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    1. I have a long way to go before my garden is as full as yours and my orders reflect that :) Siberian Squill is listed as a zone 2 - 8 bulb, so I have a feeling it (and perhaps other invasive types) need that cold winters rest, which may explain why you don't have this issue (lucky you!)

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  2. It looks like you will have lots of blooms come spring! I love using spring flowering bulbs in the landscape. It's always such a cheery sight to see after a cold winter.

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    1. I'm so looking forward to it!! Every time I plant something new (perennial or bulb), it truly is such a joy to see it come to life in the spring. First things first though - need to get them into the ground!

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  3. It's so worthwhile making time in autumn to plant some spring bulbs, it's so cheery in the depths of winter when you see those little shoots poking their way through the soil letting us know that spring will soon be here. I tend to plant any new bulbs in containers, just because I like to have them near the house where I can get the most enjoyment from them, and they can be moved about too, and once they've finished flowering I plant them out in the garden. Most of them will come back again and again and my garden is now getting well stocked through doing things this way. You've chosen some lovely varieties, it's a shame about the invasive ones but you'll still get to enjoy them in pots.

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    1. Whenever I've taken the time to add to the garden in the fall, I've been so incredibly glad the following year. I can't tell you how often I went outside to see if the crocuses I planted last fall were coming up yet - and it was so exciting when they finally did! Photos never truly capture how lovely the blooms are.

      I'm hoping that planting the bulbs in pots works out well here - we get so cold around here, leaving things in pots is not a sure thing and is usually not recommended. A friend of mine in Chicago, who has regularly done this successfully for years, lost hundreds of tulips this past spring when he changed up his method of holding them over through the winter. I'm not sure how I'll do that yet, but I'll definitely be asking for his advice on both what to do and what not to do!

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  4. Hi Margaret, What a lovely place you will have in the spring with all those bulbs bursting with color! I love crocus but haven't decided if I have room to grow a few. Nancy

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    1. There are some teeny tiny ones - I'm sure you could find a spot for them!

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  5. I’ve lots of bulbs to plant - mainly tulips but at the moment it us so wet.

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    1. We are having a long bout of wonderful fall weather....perfect for planting/garden cleanup & I am definitely taking advantage!

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  6. I love your choices! I have grown some of them. I have Siberian Squill - it spreads, but not too aggressively in my garden. ON the other hand, there are big swaths of Lincoln Park that are just covered with blue Squill at a certain point in May. So I don't know. I grew the 'WOrld Impression' Tulip, it's a beauty. I love Crocuses, but don't plant them anymore because of the squirrels and rabbits.

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    1. Thanks Jason! I'm SO excited to see all of the lovely blooms come spring! When it comes to how aggressively something spreads, I suppose it often depends on the conditions. I had a patch of sweet woodruff that was well behaved for years. Then, I started to "tend" that area, spreading mulch, etc. & it spread like wildfire. Wish I had known its tendency ahead of time so that I could have removed it before I gave that area some tlc.

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  7. Just think of all the lovely Spring flowers you will have …

    All the best Jan

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