Sunday, September 21, 2008

Diary - My 10 Favourite Bulbs

My 10 Favourite………………………….Spring Blooming Bulbs

Daffodil ‘Tahiti’
A double daffodil with an orangey-red centre against a yellow centre on white. Always invites comment and very lovely in a vase. In the perfect garden, I will plant LOTS of daffodils (along with muscari) because they’re toxic and bitter and will deter squirrels.

Daffodil ‘Mount Hood’
White-on-white trumpet style. Very similar to ‘King Alfred’ but pure white. 16-18” tall.

Daffodil ‘King Alfred’
This is the Grandpa of all daffodils and the most beloved. Tall 18” stems produce rich golden blooms.

Muscari armenicus ‘Blue Spike’ or ‘Early Giant’Grape hyacinths are a short, bright blue, fast spreading spring bulb that looks glorious with yellow – tulips, daffodils or forsythia.

Daffodil ‘Thalia’ (Triandrus div 5)
A graceful, late blooming pure white enchantress that produces 3-5 sweetly scented blooms per 14-16” stem. Thin and delicate.

Puschkinia scilloides (Libanotica)
Here’s one you may not know! A wonderful, short, “fluffy” spring bloomer in white with pale blue stripes. 3-6” tall. Extremely hardy and quick spreading. Goes very well with Daffodils and Scilla siberica.

Scilla siberica (Blue Squill)
The lawn of the University of Toronto Law Library seemed to be awash in a sea of deep blue flowers! What were they?? I was fascinated. They turned out to be Scilla siberica . They are extremely hardy and ideal in any garden that doesn’t get too dry. They also come in white and pink.

Tulip ‘Diana’
Pure white blooms on strong white stems 12-14” tall.

Tulip ‘Christmas Marvel’Cherry pink blooms look good enough to eat!! They make a brilliant border display and look lovely with white daffodil ’Mount Hood’.

Tulip ‘Estella Rijnveld’Probably my ultimate favourite tulip! It’s a parrot tulip, very late blooming, feathery and frilly. “Estella Rijnveld’ is a wonderful striped combination of read and white and looks terrific with lilacs and Tulip ‘Queen of the Night’ in a vase.

Honourable Mentions

Here’s a few more daffodils that I’ve grown to love:
‘Suzy’ (Jonquil div. 7) - 18” yellow with orange centres, fragrant
‘Jenny” (Cyclamineus Hybrid Div 6) - 10-12” short and white
‘Ice Follies’ - open yellow and turn creamy white Ht: 16”

‘Hawera’ - nodding yellow heads, very short 6-8”

I won’t be planting too many tulips in my “perfect garden” because they are short lived and squirrels love them too much! But I wonder if I can completely give up:

'Red Riding Hood' - small, bright red, one of the earliest tulips
‘Peach Blossom’ - double early tulip, rosy pink with white, look like small peonies
‘Apricot Beauty’ - single early, peachy pink, wonderful in a vase, fragrant
‘Schoonoord’ - double early, pure white
‘Bastogne’ - Triumph tulip, bright red and show-stopping

‘Queen of the Night’ - single late, such a dark purple that it looks black – people cannot believe it! Looks great in a border or vase
Lily-flowered ‘White Triumphator’ - Spiky white petals, looks great with everything and they bloom a bit later when lots of bulbs are already fading
Viridflora ‘Spring Green’ - starts out green and turns white with green stripes. Very unusual. Just discovered it a few years ago and love it!
Tulipa tarda – tiny, short (2”) – like little wildflowers – yellow pointed with white tips – very long-lived

Allium giganteum ‘Gladiator’ or ‘Lucy Ball’ – Really different – 4’ tall – large globe shaped flowers on sturdy stems. Lilac and purple. Late blooming.

Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow) – very early (April) Electric blue flowers look beautiful in a woodland setting and combine well with tulips and daffodils. Also terrific under forsythia

Iris reticulata and Iris danfordiae – tiny (4-6”) Iris that bloom in early spring. Reticulata are violet blue and Danfordiae are yellow. They have always been my signal that spring has really arrived. They bloom right outside my kitchen window under a linden tree.

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