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August 9, 2018

“One of the things I really like about gardening is that it doesn’t take a lot of concentration and leaves a lot of space for speculation.”

– Michael Pollan, American author of Second Nature, The Botany of Desire, In Defense of Food, etc.

Fall 2018 Front Catalog Cover

We’re taking our new catalog to the printer tomorrow, which means you should have it in your hands by the end of the month. Woo-hoo!

One big change this year is that we’re sending TWO catalogs – one now for fall-planted bulbs only and a separate catalog of spring-planted bulbs in January. By doing it this way our spring-planted catalog will be based on the results of the entire growing season rather than hopeful predictions made in mid-summer.

As always, we think our new covers are amazing – and you can take a peek at them here.

P.S. If you’ve moved since last fall, please call or email us with your new address right away so you don’t miss this one!

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We got some good news the other day from Alan Shipp of the UK National Collection of Hyacinths. The treasures he grows for us are rebounding well from the disastrous spring of 2016, and he’s sending us small quantities of six of them this fall.

Choose from extra-dark ‘King of the Blues’ (pictured here) and ‘Menelik’, pale, shimmering ‘Perle Brilliante’, luscious ‘Mulberry Rose’, almost-wild Roman Dark Blue, and the lovely ‘Grace Darling’ which is named for a real-life Victorian heroine.

A word to the wise, though: We have just 25 to 75 bulbs of these rarities, so if you want them, don’t delay!

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We hate to disappoint you, so now the next time one of our extra-rare bulbs is sold out, you can ask us to send you an email alert whenever it’s available again.

It’s easy to do. For example, if you look at sold-out ‘Feu de Joie’ (pictured here) you’ll see at the end of its description “With luck we will have more available later this summer. If you’d like to be notified when it’s back in stock, sign up for an email alert.”

Click “alert,” enter your email address in the pop-up box, click again, and you’re done. Whenever that rare beauty is available again, you’ll get the good news right away.

Although we won’t be offering alerts on every sold-out bulb, we hope this new feature will help you get more of the bulbs you want. As always, we want you happy!

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Madonna Lilies

It’s always good to hear from our customers, and we love seeing photos of our bulbs in your gardens – such as the one here from our good customer Adrienne Schopf of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

“I just wanted to send you guys a few pictures of the Madonna lilies that we planted last fall,” Adrienne wrote. “They’re doing well in our Bishop’s Garden. They’re planted in an area we call the Hortulus where we have different herbs that were planted at monasteries in the 9th century, so these lilies fit in perfectly.

“We’d been having a hard time finding them and were very excited that you offered them. We’ve ordered more from you guys for this fall. Thanks for growing such great plants and keeping the older varieties around!”

You’re welcome, Adrienne, and thanks for sharing these deeply historic lilies with your many visitors!

To enjoy this fragrant beauty in your own 21st-century garden, order now for October delivery.

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Magnet Snowdrop

If you think all snowdrops are the same, think again. Here’s what our good customer Virginia Boyett of zone-7b Perryville, Arkansas, had to say the first year one of our favorites bloomed for her:

“The ‘Magnet’ snowdrops that I planted last fall have been in bloom for about three weeks, and they are the biggest snowdrops that I have ever seen.

“On cloudy days the buds stay closed and remind me of miniature tulips hanging upside down. Stark white, they are graceful and elegant.

“On sunny days, though, the outer whorl stands literally straight out, like the blades of a helicopter. With the extra-long pedicels, the entire bloom looks as if it could just take off and fly.

“The blooms keep coming, too. Each bulb has had 3-4 blooms apiece so far. I am loving it. I am just sorry I didn't order more.”

Last offered in 2014, ‘Magnet’ is back in our catalog this fall, so Virginia – and you – can order it now!

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Until a few years ago I don’t think I’d ever seen a rabbit in our garden here in the center of Ann Arbor, but now they’re everywhere. They devoured my glory-of-the-snow this spring, and my neighbor says they’re the reason why so few of our self-sowing larkspur bloomed this summer.

Peonies, though, are not one of their favorite foods, according to UK nurserywoman Claire Austin who has grown hundreds of them since the 1980s when her father, the famed rose breeder David Austin, gave them up for roses.

“Did you know that peonies are rabbit-proof?” she writes in the May 2018 issue of Country Living. “If you have rabbits that like nothing better than to nibble from your borders, get planting peonies! Rabbits do not like the taste . . . and won't be tempted to snack on their roots, stems or blooms.”

But Claire gardens in Wales, and we’re wondering if what she says is also true for American rabbits. A few stalks of my peonies were chewed on for the first time this year, and I blamed the rabbits. It was minor damage, but I’m still wondering – do the rabbits in your garden leave your peonies alone?

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July’s articles included garden immigrants, the “easy, intoxicating” regal lily, tips for heat and drought, a dahlia “so unique you’ll stop and stare,” and more.

You can read all of our back-issues at – and we’re adding the best articles to our blog!

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