Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A few of my favorite Bulbs

I don't think I have ever had a more magical garden visit than an early April in 1981 when I first visited Savill Gardens in Windsor Great Park. It was late afternoon on a weekday, there was almost no one there except us, and the glowing light of the Magic Hours of late afternoon lit up each and every one of the MILLIONS of wild narcissi, a different species or subspecies naturalized separately in various glades as we walked around in astonished wonderment....

These are a few of the pictures I've scanned from that visit--which hardly do the place justice! I've dreamed about returning, and finally did a few years ago about the same time of year: I don't know whether to blame global warming, or it just being a very early year, but nary a narcissus bloomed my second visit..I know they're there! I must go back in March, perhaps next time?

Yet another bank at Savill: this is what dreams are made of. I dream of naturalizing choice bulbs like this (but nowhere on this scale alas!)

But getting Iris danfordiae to come back huskily for several years is its own kind of triumph!

Most of us who love flowers in Colorado have a "thing" about the only native lily here: so local, but for a few decades a local nursery grew and sold the bulbs cheaply. They bloom at the height of heat in the summer and don't last long. But they're worth the effort!

This incredible form of Iris aucheri ('Shooting Star') has persisted in a local public garden uncared for, unloved and mostly unseen for the better part of twenty years. 'Nuff said.

Another iris champion has been Iris bucharica, which grows in quite a few spots at DBG.

This was my favorite planting of it--much of which was lifted and planted elsewhere. I dream it will return to its former glory some day! The daffs and the junos pretty much show why bulbs are so essential to the early spring landscape!

This little colony of Erythronium albidum has persisted in this spot for decades--not expanding much over that period. They make a wonderful combo with the Pulsatilla, don't you agree?

Now we go to Pueblo, where this patch of Colchicum autumnale predates Bill Adams buying his house: I would so love to have clumps like this!

But this is what I lust for the most: Colchicum agrippinum forming a massive clump! It so helps to learn what others are doing and how to copy them! Now if I could only find this bulb to try it Bill's way!

The REAL reason for this blog post is to invite you to join me this weekend to a special NARGS zoom webinar on Geophytes: Click here to find out more about this event--which I promise you will be a fantastic way to raise the bar on your bulb game!  See you there....


  1. My agrippinum need to be divided. Can you take home a pocketful in 2023.

  2. Would gleefully take some: happy to trade! email @ telesonix@outlook.com

  3. Hi Panayoti I love the elegant beauty of Erythronium albidum with the deep lavender of the Pulsatilla, Just planted a similar look with the Cyclamineus
    Daffodil 'Jenny' - with its milky white petals and long yellow trumpet with my Pulsatilla. So looking forward to the NARGS! Bulb webinar coming up on Saturday-many thanks to you

    1. was able to download myself am assuming this was at DBG ?

    2. Yes it was! Wish it were at my house!

  4. Attended the NARGS study day and it was fantastic. All enthused to try and grow more unusual bulbs especially iris in the garden. Sourcing will probably be half the fun. I have I. buccharica and it is a stunner. Would love to have a river of them.


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