If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener.
~J. C. Raulston
Perhaps you remember this post featuring Abyssinian glads I wrote in 2009.
Well here’s an update, if you will, on one bit of information I wrote then. I wrote that my original bulbs purchased were from Old House Gardens , which produced such beautiful and very fragrant flowers that I was hooked on them. So wonderful they are that I am willing to consider them annuals and buy new bulbs every year since they are not hardy enough for my USDA zone 7 garden to come back strong yearly. For the 2 years following I bought bagged bulbs from the garden center at Fred Meyer (Kroger) because it saved me on shipping costs and price per bulb over all. Well the first ‘thrifty’ batch of bulbs never produced any flowers at all. I wondered if it was due the cold fall that came earlier than normal, so I chalked the failure up to the weather in that given year. The following year my newly purchased package of ‘thrifty’ bulbs were planted and grew lots of lovely leaves again but our summer was overall colder than normal and this time I only got a few flowers to enjoy. Out of about 20 bulbs I got 5 that formed blooms. And it was another bad year for weather. Both of these years also gave me fits in the vegetable garden so you can see why I blamed it on the weather. I decided to buy my 2011 stock from Old House Gardens again to see if my thrifty-ness was the problem.
Well duh! The bulbs I received from OHG are far bigger, more than twice the size of the bulbs I was getting at the garden center. Clearly the package bulbs sold to the discounters are not of blooming size. Have you bought packaged bulbs at a hardware store or nursery only to have them fail. Did you blame yourself for doing something wrong to cause the failure? If a bulb is too small it won’t bloom for a year or more till it reaches the proper size, if it grows at all. It may not have been your fault. I have even seen these same packages being sold at a pricey nursery in my area. As you can see in the photo, four bulbs of the proper size nearly fill my hand.
All I can say is I wouldn’t buy them anywhere but Old House Gardens from now on and this isn’t an endorsed plug for them. It’s buyer beware as you know and when I can I like to steer fellow gardeners to the best resources I know of. Their link has been in my sidebar since I set up this blog in 2008 because they have quality stock are nice and personable to deal with by phone or online. Have you ever heard of Garden Watchdog ? It is a site that rates mail-order companies for gardeners. It’s quite handy to know about as it can save you headaches by learning from others experiences. Good to know that Old House Gardens is in their top 30 of most highly rated companies!
Here it is early August and the first flowers are opening. This has been a bad year weatherwise for us again, but the bulbs which I planted in April grew quickly and have lush leaves despite the cold, wet, cloudy spring and early summer we have had.
Thrifty isn’t thrifty if you are getting a lesser quality product for your money and the disappointment of poor performance. It’s simply a waste of money. For two years I missed out on the gorgeous flowers and fabulous fragrance by unknowingly buying under sized bulbs. They were simply not big enough to bloom.
Forgive me OHG for ever doubting your superiority. I’ll be back next year for my bulbs. From now on my gorgeous, fragrant Abyssinian glads (Gladiolus callianthus) will be from OHG!
In bloom in my garden today: Agastache foeniculum (anise hyssop), Alpine Strawberries, Alyssum, Armeria, Astlbe, Begonia ‘bonfire’, Borage, Bletilla pink, Crocosmia ‘george davidson’, Daphne caucasica ‘Eternal Fragrance’ and ‘Summer Ice’, Digitalis grandiflora, Echinacea, Fuchsia, Geranium ‘mavis simpson’, Gladiolus callianthus (formerly Acidanthera),Green Beans, Hosta, Huchera, Lavender, Lily, Lobelia, Mullen chaixii ‘Album’, Nepeta, Oregano, Phygelius ‘new sensation’ (cape fushia), Purple poppies, Rose, Salvia, Scheherazade oriental lily, Star Jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides), Thalictrum rochebrunianum (meadow rue), Thyme ‘foxley’, Tigridia (Mexican Shell Flower), Tomato, Veronica, Wisteria, Zucchini