Anticipating winter leads to bulb binge

Today Annie took me with her to look at this season’s collection of spring flowering bulbs, and what an overwhelming lot there were! I have a limited space for pots, which should have deterred me, but unfortunately it didn’t slow me down that much. I arrinved back with tulips, chionodoxa, scilla, anemone blanda, two camass bulbs, some short purple allium, and a whole lot of yellow winter pansies to go on top. These will cheer me up until the bulbs have rooted and are peeking through the soil.

It is murder to go to a nursery at this time of year, possibly even worse than spring. Maybe because you are filled with hope and anticipation, (when winter is approaching) and you are already dreaming of spring.

One thing I badly wanted was a giant allium, the bulb, that is, but no sign of one where we went. I know there are such things because my Nanaimo brother has a giant allium which must be two feet tall, with a single blue bloom the size of a softball on top.

Dramatic? You bet!

Of course I wanted one too. Greedy, that’s what, and I will continue to look for one, but he got his as a started plant from a daughter in Vancouver, so I may well be out of luck, but I’ll survive!

Something else I saw that tempted me horribly was the twisted bulb of a “foxtail” lily. This is a beautiful flower, but there are limits to the space on a balcony, and I’m already “pushing the envelope.” I’m not quite sure what that means, but you probably get the picture.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review's garden columnist for more than 25 years.



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