Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Monday, 18 January 2010

VPGGB#13: Bulbs Revisited


Being desperate to find any gardening related activity last week, I resorted to trawling around the garden departments of the local DIY stores one afternoon to see what's new. It's mostly the usual suspects: summer bulbs, plus a few dormant herbaceous perennial roots. However, this year looks set to be big on Dahlias as I found lots more choice than usual with not a D. 'Bishop of Llandaff' in sight. I've stocked up on more D. 'Arabian Night' as this did so well in my garden last year as well as looking marvellously sultry. I added a contrasting D. 'Duet' to my shopping basket: a cranberry and white striped combination, plus pure white D. 'Sneezy' again for contrast, but mainly because the name made me laugh.

All these were on offer at around the £2.49 mark for 2 good sized tubers, or three packs for a fiver. Good value, especially when catalogue prices are around £5.95 for three tubers + postage. However, the best bargain of the day were the pictured autumn onions for 10p. I know they should have been planted out by the end of November, but the sets are still very firm, with no hint of sprouting. Now, I have a track record in tardy bulb planting: In February last year I was planting some daffodils I found lolling around in the garage, 5 months later than advised. But I still had a marvellous display, with them flowering just a couple of weeks later than what was said on the packet.

Bearing that in mind these onion sets have got to be worth a try, so I'll be planting them later on today. If you've still got some bulbs lying around - floral or vegetable - and they're still sound, why not give them a go and plant them, despite what's said on the packet re planting dates. And if you find any similar bargains in the shops (like the tulips I used for my guerrilla planter last month), don't hesitate to buy them if they're still firm. Even if the ground's too wet or you've used up all your pretty pots, potting them up in any medium to large containers you've kept from previous plant purchases will give you plenty of additional colour to dot around in any gaps you find in your borders come spring :)

11 comments:

  1. Totally agree with you on the onions. I bought my red and white sets from Focus in December for only 50p a bag, stuck half of them in and gave the others away, knowing that if they did fail I'd only invested £1 and could just clear them out. So far though they seem to be doing well even with all the snow and frost. Good luck with yours.

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  2. I was in Focus yesterday and picked up 3 Amarylis roots all with good signs of life and 3 bags of Crocosmia Lucifer bulbs - all for £10. There are some good deals out there

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  3. Hi VP, thanks for this reminder. As long as bulbs are not squishy, we will buy them too. Now is the time for extreme bargains here in the US, as garden centers are clearing the way for new merchandise in a month or so. Very exciting to see the new stuff, and to be able to get bargains on the old, but still good.
    Frances

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  4. Thanks for the filip, VP. I have half a dozen daffs that would be better off in the ground than on my desk. Should take advantage of our January thaw to give them a decent burial. Nothing ventured...

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  5. And, at last, the ground can be slushed aside without a pick-axe.

    Lucy

    P.S. The word verification is 'cemist'. I'm trying to decide if this means 'chemist' or 'sea-mist'. L.

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  6. I followed you to the same DIY store on Saturday :D (well in a different town, but...)

    Now I also have Dahlia 'Arabian Nights' to look forward to, plus some lovely scarlet gladioli and a canna. Not bad for a fiver!

    Look forward to those onions - they'll be fine. A girl can't have too many onions, I find - I've just sowed onion seed for my first attempt at championship onions. Think I'll stick to more reliable sets for my main crop though...

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  7. LOL. I think a lot of us hold a record in tardy bulb planting...the only reason I didn't have that issue this year is that I didn't buy any bulbs except some hyacinths for forcing indoors. I was sent a box of white-flowered bulbs and did manage to get them all in the ground before freezeup, but that was more good luck than good management.

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  8. Yes it is time to get the onion bulbs I see they are in the shops already.

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  9. Great minds thinking alike and all that, VP - I've just written about finally planting some tulips. Good luck with the onions.
    (I always tell myself thatnext year I'll get everything done at the right time. I live in hope).

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  10. A good way of spending some time taking refuge from 'The Big Freeze' VP. Here I visited Homebase today - was surprised at the variety of spuds on sale although some of them were in very small quantities ie five in a bag. Still there was even one purple skinned variety on sale.

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  11. Dave - I got these from Focus too!

    PG - I wish I'd known you were after some Crocosmia 'Lucifer' - I could have given you a clump!

    Frances - yes, the shops are clearing the decka for the new stuff here too. It's not long to the real garden season starting!

    Helen - do it now! They'll be fine :)

    Lucy - it could be a chemist lost in a sea mist? ;)

    CG - maincrop sets will be purchased on Saturday at the Malmesbury Potato Day :)

    Jodi - I held back on my bulb order too - but I can never resist a bargain :)

    Joanne - oh yes there are - and garlic :)

    HM - and it was a very fine post too, I enjoyed it very much :)

    Anna - that's surprising. Stores like that usually go for the big bags.

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