VPGGB #11: A Gentle Plea for Bulbs

Unlike last year I was going to be quite restrained with my bulb buying this time, honest guv. But when packets like the one shown above wink at you from the shelf, who am I to say no? Besides, when I went to see Anna Pavord's talk on her new book, Bulb recently, her parting shot was Splurge, it's the only way. It was a bit of a siren call and I now find myself buying them at every opportunity. BTW Jane Perrone went to see her at the Garden Museum recently and has saved me the trouble of translating my notes for you from the ones I wrote in the dark, by publishing a full account here.

It's a good year for bargain bulbs: EmmaT's been potting up some tulips and I've found a further selection at Chippenham's Focus DIY store (including species tulips and Quail daffodils) at 3 fat packs for a fiver. The pictured bumper pack came from a small nursery in Somerset (Rocky Mountain), so it's not just the big chains getting in on the act. It's not too late to plant them and at prices like these it would be madness not to. I can't help thinking that's rather ironic really seeing whole fortunes were won and lost at the height of tulip mania.

It also got me musing about the Dalek-like planters on Chippenham high street I showed you earlier in the year. The summery pretties have been stripped out and (hopefully) composted and they're now awaiting their usual winter selection of bright pansies or Polyanthus. Wouldn't it be great if lashings of bulbs were added to the mix to give us at least an extra month's interest at minimal cost?


  1. 'Bulbs' is going to be my Christmas present to myself. Will have a look at Jane's report later. I don't often buy stuff from Crocus, but have been tempted by their half price bulb sale :)

  2. I've been very lazy about bulbs in the past, but decided to put that right this year - I've been planting Alliums like they're going out of fashion! I've done other bulbs as well, but the Alliums outnumber them :)

  3. Anna;- I have also been tempted by Crocus Half price offer - I have also just received a good half price offer from Parkers,

    Unfortunately I did a big splurge on tulip bulbs early .... to ensure I got the bulbs I wanted, now I am wishing I had waited.....

    What a dilemma!
    PS None of my daff. bulbs are planted yet :(

  4. I'm mighty relieved. I thought you were going to say there was something wrong about buying cheap bulbs.


  5. I love that...splurge, it's the only way! Maybe a cross stitch to hang above the mantel of it. As usual, we ordered quite early to be sure and get what we wanted and now are having fits of needing more and more. The online sources were sold out of so many, drat! We managed another order though and will continue to pick up packs as they are marked down. We can plant through December here. After that, there will be prepotted bulbs just showing that can be plopped into the ground. There is no end to it. :-)

  6. I so wish I could grow bulbs, but they always seem to disappear - in all the places I've lived! Even the ones that were flourishing for the previous inhabitants! Maybe it's because I don't use slug pellets, or something.

  7. curses! i've been infected with tulips, myself. seeing a great deal i will be ordering tulips later this week. not that i'm sure where to plant them.....

  8. I made my order early and then dug out all the tulips I had taken from pots last year and have started the mammoth replanting. I also have loads to put into the ground from last year's pots. They seem to do ok here. I love the Anna Pavord book. It was my birthday present. Only problem is I am now developing a passion for daffodils (old varieties, species) too!

  9. Oh I have lots of bulbs to plant! I'm going to do a lot in pots then I can move them around the lottie and even take some with me IF we ever sell our house. We got 2 super duper bargains, 1st FREE tulips with of prize giving lunch and 2nd one of our lottie friends works for the council and he got us FREE daffodil bulbs which we're going to guerllia plant. I do habe a lot of mini daffs and tulips planted up already at the lottie but can you have too many???

  10. It's the not buying part of bulbs that gets me in trouble, it's the planting part. Especially this year, when we seem to have 2 days of rain to every dry day this October, it's hard to get those babies in the ground. I've made a start, but those packages staring at me accusingly have dampened my enthusiasm for buying any more.

  11. I haven't got any planting space left in the garden. Perhaps bulbs don't count as they live underground. I think I've almost convinced myself.

  12. Anna - I'm sure you'll love the book. I don't need the Crocus sale, there's been too much temptation around here!

    NG - I'm planning on guerrilla gardening some alliums later - the garden centre was giving away a free packet of them, so who was I to say no! They're some of my favourite bulbs :)

    Karen - sounds like you need to splurge again! I've just had the Parker catalogue out...

    Lucy - there is absolutely nothing wrong with cheap bulbs - as long as the reason why they're cheap is not because they've gone mouldy or are a bit on the small side. I'm happy to say that none of my bargains were.

    FG - I'm always late with my planting. I planted daffodils in January this year! I think I was lucky to get away with it - if we hadn't have had such a cold winter it might have been a different story. They were only a couple of weeks later than their in-ground cousins, so no harm done.

    Phoenix C - sounds like you might have some pesky squirrels nearby?

    Petoskystone - how about some nice pots, so you can put them out in those spaces which inevitably develop in our borders over the winter?

    Elizabethm - I'm planning on getting some native daffodils 'in the green' for my birthday next year and guerrilla gardening them on the public land next door.

    Carrie - that sounds absolutely wonderful. Everywhere by you is going to look good come spring :) Hope you're feeling a bit better today...

    MMD - it hasn't stopped me - yet. Lots in and lots of packets to go and I'm sure I'll add a few more!

    EG - haven't you heard? You need to plant in LAYERS. As bulbs live underground they're your foundation layer - go and buy some immediately!

  13. Hi VP good post and the tulips do look tempting but I have resisted this year again as Tulips don't last well in my garden and I don't think I could fit any more pots in.
    I will enjoy waiting for yours to flower.

  14. Joanne - most of mine are in pots, so they tend to last for just one season. I therefore go for striking, but cheap varieties!


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