Bulb Obsessive

Many a good gardener I know has a secret seed addiction, I say secret as its easy to hide those guilty unsown seed packets but bulbs? Well its not so easy to hide the sacks and packets bulging with bulbs and corms. I have noticed over the years I have been blogging that there seems to be a heightened sense of panic and guilt the nearer we get to the end of the year as gardeners face the fact that they really were never going to plant those 200 tulips bulbs.

I am far from guilty and each year more bulbs find their way into the garage waiting to be planted.  I do try to be good and this year in the Spring I made a note in my garden notebook of what bulbs I needed to add to what border.  I dutifully consulted my notebook when the glossy bulb catalogues arrived but as the pages turned more delights winked at me and the list grew.  But no! This year I was going to be sensible, I had a tight budget so I would not succumb to impulse buys and I didn’t, how good am I?  But then it went a little pear-shaped; I spotted some cheap bulbs in Wilkinsons and well you can never have enough narcissus and then I joined the Spalding Bulb Blogger Group and was sent a selection of 100 mixed spring bulbs as a thank you.  Oh dear, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that!

Well over the last two days I have planted around 200 bulbs.  This may not sound a lot to some but my garden isn’t that big.  I have planted Tulip Ballerina in the front garden along one side of the newly shaped lawn.  These have been interplanted with Allium Sphareocephalon which I saw earlier in the summer at Cotswold Garden Flowers (see top picture).  I have also planted Narcissus Tete-a-Tete, Minnow and Canaliculatus in the front garden among the edging of Deschampsia.  Today I finished off the patio border with some Narcissus W P Milner and also planted up some Anemone Blanda and Mixed Iris from Spalding in pans.  This is on top of the Narcissus planted last weekend.

But there is still a pile of bulbs waiting to be planted in the garage.  There are some tulips mainly Jan Reus to go on the slope to supplement the ones already there; some Allium flavum,  some Miscari and another bag which I can’t remember.  In my defence most of the ones I ordered from Peter Nyssen have been planted, it is the free ones which are looking for homes.  Oh and then I was watching Gardeners World last night and saw a tin bath planted up with masses of tulips  and now I  want to go to the local garden centre to buy lots more tulips to plant up  my tin bath.

So there you go not only am I self-confessed seedaholic but am also a bulb obsessive – healthy addictions I think as they only lead to brighten the  world.

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43 Comments Add yours

  1. I know exactly what you mean !

  2. Dee says:

    Oh, how beautiful your spring garden will be. Bulbs are my crack cocaine, and I indulge far too much. Looking forward to spring yet again.~~Dee

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Dee – I can see how bulbs could have that effect on you. I love those little parcels of promise for the following year.

  3. Planting bulbs in the autumn is one of my favourite gardening tasks. It’s fun because I love to dig, enjoy thinking about the future garden, and of course all of those pretty flowers pop up in spring. I went on a bulb spree this fall, and the thought of those blooms is some consolation for the layer of snow outside.

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi NS – I think you are right its the planning for the spring and looking forward to the new gardening season that makes bulb planting so fun

  4. Cathy says:

    Tee hee – not just me then! 🙂

  5. I am a bulb addict too and planted so many alliums my hands still hurt….when I saw the first picture I was thinking, ‘oh yes Helen has my favorite allium featured’…and I planted about 100 more of these too…

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Donna – my bulb addiction is getting worse. I plant them in the borders now rather than in pots as we have had such cold winters that they freeze

  6. Now I really am spurred into action. I think I may visit the garden centre tomorrow and get a long handled bulb planter like the one Monty had on GW a few weeks back. Talking about backs, how did you manage planting all those bulbs?

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Ronnie – I have been visiting a McTimoney Chiropractor. She is fab and is sorting out my back which was very wonky but at least it wasnt a slipped disc. I am being quite sensible about things and trying to pick things up properly, bending knees and all that.

  7. Liz says:

    Hi,

    I’m definitely a bulbaholic too; seeds not so much as I depend more on perennials, but the bulbs… Well, considering for the past 3 years I’ve had at least 400 to plant, and in this case this year I was nearing 600………………………..
    Most of them are small though – snowdrops and crocus, so planting in groups of 10 makes quick work of them.

    That’s my excuse.

    1. patientgardener says:

      I think crocus and snowdrops will be on my list last year. I am running out of room for more narcissus and tulips although I am sure I can always make more borders

  8. Mark and Gaz says:

    Wow, quite a nice mix of bulb there that will come up and bloom in succession too, should give you a long spring floral display. We don’t always get the chance to plant our bulbs out, and we’re guilty of letting some rot away in their packets, Ooops!

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi guys – bulbs rotting in packets, that is outrageous 🙂 Stick them in a pot at least – glad I’m not alone

  9. Anna says:

    Oh you have been most industrious Helen and will be well rewarded come spring. Allium sphaerocephalon are not only great – beautiful little flowers, no need to worry about leaves dying back and they self seed in a considerate manner. The tulips in the garden on GW last night (must find out more about the garden) were an absolutely joyous sight to behold – made me want to plant more tulips too even though I’m not keen on their leaves. Hope to make some inroads into my bulb pile tomorrow.

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Anna – that garden is already in my book of gardens to visit as there was an article on it in one of the glossies a few years back. It does look wonderful and she was so enthuastic, such wonderful combinations of colour

  10. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Sorry no cure -unless you buy an apartment – and then the deck would probably be bulging – or wait till go ino a retirement home? but then some here have gardens for inmates! Better than being lots of other ‘s’holics!

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Yvonne being a bulb and seedaholic is a lot better than many other addictions as you so rightly say.

  11. You might want to consider planting some of those bulbs in containers if you’re running out of space. My bulb planting this fall was relatively modest, 90 tulips (all in containers), and 200 crocus (they’re so tiny after all).

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi GC – I have some large pots identified if I run out of room but I am sure I will find somewhere to squeeze them in. Not that I squeeze them of course but plant them with care!!

    2. Squeezing isn’t necessarily bad. My guideline is that the bulbs can be as crowded as a 3:30 pm communter train but not as crowded as the 5:30.

    3. patientgardener says:

      What a fab analogue – I will now view my bulb planting in terms of commuter trains which I spent too much time on in my past

  12. Lesley Baker says:

    Me too, just addicted to bulbs. Still have loads to plant- um!!!
    But it’s so magical- you pop it in a hole in the ground, & a miracle happens!!

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Lesley – they are wonderful arent they – little bundles of wonder

  13. I previously dabbled in bulbs – a few muscari and galanthus for the windowbox, a pot or two of tulips; last summer, an 2nd year onion bulb threw up a dazzling, bee-loving display of white pompom heads (love!) and I was hooked. Recently my first full length assignment as a Garden Design student has been a brief to provide year round interest in the garden by interplanting bulbs, across 6 different environments. Extensive, absorbing, thrilling research has led to full blown addiction – no more dabbling for me! PS. Sarah Raven has the most delicious video of her oast garden in full bulb bloom on her blog ….

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Caro – Bulbs are wonderful and I think they are slowly becoming more popular as people realise there are more than large daffs and tulips. Enjoy your new fascination

  14. Claire says:

    Bulbs are great, they give us the first cheer after the winter and also don’t often go wrong. I am addicted to tulips.

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Claire, my addiction this year is with narcissus but I suspect it will be a different bulb next year

  15. Christina says:

    I’m putting my hand up to being a bulb obsessive too! I too was very restained only buying (like you) from Peter Nyssen. Nearly all planted now just 25 tulips and 100 Allium Sphareocephalon (my favourites) plus some Anemones left to plant. But you can’t have too many bulbs can you???? Christina

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Christina – No you cannot have too many bulbs ever and I want to explore summer and autumn bulbs this year too.

  16. Annie_H says:

    Your garden will look amazing in the spring. So nice to be planting now for a colourful start to the year!

  17. Donna says:

    Just can’t wait for all your pics of them come spring – how delightful and deliciously obsessive but oh, so thrilling! What’s not to like?

  18. pivi says:

    I like your test, I love bulbs too, I think they are some how mysterious, they have a big secret inside, and it’s so exciting to wait they’ll reveal all the secrets… how a small bulb can turn out to be such a beauty. Oh, waiting already for spring ! Greetings from Finland.

    1. pivi says:

      sorry: typo: I like your TEXT

  19. hillwards says:

    Ah bulbs indeed. I’ve planted out all our new narcissus, anemones and ranunculus, but the tulip bulbs are still biding their time, along with a few more alliums for us to pop in too. I planted Allium sphaerocephalon bulbs here last autumn, and discovered that clusters of three and five really are not enough – they were pretty but needed seeking out, nowhere near as striking as your first picture – so in future I’m going for swathes where possible. Since we don’t have a huge garden either this probably just means one or two larger clumps instead of several smaller ones, but it’s a start!
    sara

    1. patientgardener says:

      Hi Sara, I have planted my Allium sphaerocepalon (I think there were 25) in and out of the tulips along the edge of a bed so hoepfully they will make an impression. I think I read they self-seed well

  20. hillwards says:

    Sounds lovely – look forward to seeing pictures in the spring! And I shall make sure I concentrate on one or two beds this time instead of spreading them around the garden. I hope they do self-seed too…

  21. Anna B says:

    I absolutely love this post!!! Every year I feel guilty and Saturday was a non-starter for me in terms of bulb planting and then I saw your post and felt happy that I wasn’t the only one who has the secret obsession! Unlike you though I never planted anything. Really interesting to read about what you’ve been doing, sounds really nice. The tin bath idea is awesome!

  22. fredrickal says:

    Hard to keep ahead of the gophers here. They will not eat narcissi, but they fall down into their tunnels and disappear just the same. I have visions of them bowling with bulbs down there.

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