2012-04-12

Bulbs . . . Garden Magic


Lily- Flowered Tulip "Queen of Sheba"

Bulbs offer an easy way to add magical color explosions in your garden. Sometimes dormant, just underground, then bursting forth with flowers and foliage.
This blog will look into the types and uses of this versatile class of plants.


Fantasy Parrot Tulip


Tulips . . . the King of Bulbs for centuries!



Tulips have been cultivated for thousands of years with a huge variety of styles to chose from. However they do have certain requirements to remain hardy and multiply.
Tulips generally are best suited in cold zones 3 through 8.
They require a cold dormant period, good draining soil and as much as 5-6 hours un-interrupted sunshine each day.




The most consistent reasons for tulip failure are:

1) Lack of adequate sunshine.
2) The removal or damage to the foliage after the flower has finished,but the bulb still needs time to re-charge.
3) Too shallow planting depth and/or planting in too heavy a soil.

Fosteriana Tulips

Some Hybrid Tulip Classifications



Darwin Hybrid - Hybridized between Fosteriana & Darwin Tulips. An excellent bedding tulip.  Tall; 20 - 24 inches. Performs well in warmer climates if pre-chilled.


Single Early - Large single blooms on 10 to 18 inch stems. Early Bloomer, often fragrant.

Double Early - First cultivated in 1860. Large double petaled blooms, resembling peonies.  8 to 12 inch stems, long lasting blooms.

Fosteriana - Often called 'Emperor Tulips' the largest flowers of all Tulips. 15-18 inches

Greigii - Striped or mottled foliage adds to these tulips. 12- 20 inches.

Kaufmannianna - Short stems and large single petaled flowers that resemble water lilies.  Good in windy areas.

Lily-Flowered - Elegant reflexed petals, pointed tips. The classic Dutch Tulip. 18 - 24 inches.

Parrot - Wild, informal fringed petals, in some ways like an orchid. 16- 24 inches




Unique Species Tulips


Tulipa acuminata "Fireflame Tulip"
Long intriguing twisted petals. Very small leaves, 20 inches.




Tulipa clusiana "Lady, Lipstick or Candy-stripe Tulip"
White inner petals with a vertical Crimson stripe, and deep purple center.
No cold period required. Originally cultivated in 1606. Short; 8-12 inches.







Tulipa sylvestris "Wild, or Woodland Tulip"
Yellow petals curled ever so tight just at the tips, sweet scented, pendant in bud.
No cold period required. Originally cultivated in 1670. Short; 10-12 inches.


Mulch Magic

Mulch is a layer of organic matter. Usually made up of composted materials and/or shredded materials like: bark, wood, leaves, straw, and peat moss. Mulch is spread over the soil's surface.

Two to four inches of organic mulch provides the following benefits:


1. Keeps the soil uniformly frozen over winter and prevents root and
bulb damage caused by winter heaving and thawing (warming and
refreezing causes the familiar buckling of soil seen at winter's end).


2. Mulch acts as an insulator to prevent the soil from going
into a deep freeze. This blanketing effect allows you to grow certain
varieties which might otherwise not survive winter in your region.


3. In spring and summer, mulch keeps the soil cool and moist, and you'll have later and more uniform flowering from your bulbs (sometimes with larger flowers).


4. In summer, mulch helps prevent the drying effects of the wind
and sun.


If you don't use mulch and are having hardiness problems with your plants, then try using a mulch of your choice.

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