Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pestering spring bulbs

Regular readers will know that I have kind of a thing for Robin Lane Fox, gardening correspondent for the Financial Times. Not only is he is fluent in all the proper Latin botanical names--as he should be since his day job is as a Reader in Ancient History--but his horticultural opinions are refreshingly contrarian. (And, when not gardening, he leads the occasional cavalry charge in a Hollywood sand-and-sandal epic.)

Anyway, Lane Fox's article yesterday on fall planting began by lambasting both the vermin who ravage spring bulbs and the "woolly minded eco-gardeners" who are their advocates. As a veteran of constant battles over the predations of backyard swarms of squirrels and rabbits, I say sign me up on your team, Robin! I've gone over to the dark side of gardeners for whom Peter Rabbit is no longer a cute, cuddly cartoon bunny.

This year, I've given up planting any bulbs that these pests like.  It's hard to enjoy a plant when all the time you're wondering first, if the bulb was dug up and devoured in the fall and second, how long before something hops or bounds over and snips off the leaves and flowers. Not going there this year. Instead of tulips, I am trying Spanish hyacinths.  They may be a poor substitute but, honestly, nothing carries off spring as flamboyantly as brilliantly-colored Darwin tulips anyway.  At least I can inject a little springtime pink with Spanish hyacinths. In addition, yes, there will be more daffodils--the late blooming variety "Quail" and, as reminders of a lovely spring in Portugal, hoop petticoat daffodils.

The plant list is below the jump. Full, but not complete--I'm guessing there will be a few more purchases.

100 Narcissus bulbocodium conspicuus (front walk bed) (John Scheepers)
10 Narcissus "Quail" (new side bed) (John Scheepers)
50 Hyacinthoides hispanica "Dainty Maid" (old side bed) (John Scheepers)

20 Paperwhite narcissus "Ziva" (John Scheepers)
5 Hyacinth "Gypsy Queen" (John Scheepers)
1 Amaryllis "Picotee" (John Scheepers)
1 Amaryllis "Red Pearl" (John Scheepers)