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July 12, 2018

“My hoe as it bites the ground revenges my wrongs, and I have less lust to bite my enemies. In smoothing the rough hillocks, I smooth my temper.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882, American philosopher, essayist, lecturer, and poet

Although a few more treasures are still to come, and our print catalog won’t be mailed until August, most of our bulbs for fall planting are now available at our website. Don’t miss our 3 new peonies (plus 7 more that are back from a break), 2 new crocus, 2 new hyacinths (including lovely lavender-pink ‘Anna Liza’), and more.

As of yesterday, most of our spring-planted bulbs are available again, too – and so far nothing is sold out! We’ll be adding more between now and February but, since you can add to your order any time before March 1, why not get started now?

Our “New This Year” and “Rarest Bulbs” pages are waiting to inspire you – and returning customers get a 5% “thank-you discount” on all spring-planted bulbs ordered by Sept. 1 – so grab yourself a glass of something cold and refreshing, and happy ordering!

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“There are few plants as rewarding and foolproof to grow” as bulbs, Dan Cooper wrote recently at his Frustrated Gardener blog. Most are “bold, colorful, long-flowering, and best of all inexpensive, giving gardeners plenty of bang for their buck. In short, they are one of the plant world's best investments.”

Regal lilies are one of Dan’s favorite summer-flowering bulbs.

“Here’s a bulb with class, elegance and history,” he writes. “No wonder it was named Lilium regale, the regal lily. It was introduced to England from China in 1903 by Ernest Henry Wilson and quickly became a favorite of Gertrude Jekyll, who used it prolifically in her garden designs at a time when it would have been quite a novelty.

“Jekyll would frequently plant large clumps of Lilium regale in strategic spots, creating height and drama at pivotal points in her schemes. In addition to stature, the lilies also contributed intoxicating scent and blushing white flowers that stood out well against dark foliage. . . .”

“There is no flower so exquisite as Lilium regale at dusk on a warm June evening, glowing in the gloaming and sharing its intoxicating perfume,” Dan writes in closing. “Plant plenty, and then plant some more.

We couldn’t agree more! To enjoy these intoxicating beauties in your own garden, order now for delivery at planting time this fall.

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If you’re enjoying a cool rainy summer, lucky for you! Unfortunately much of the country is once again suffering through high heat and low rainfall. (When even the weeds are wilting, as in the photo here from my neighbor’s yard, you know it’s bad!)

It’s a topic we’ve addressed frequently in recent years, so rather than write a whole new article about it, here are some links to our Weather and Hardiness archives that we hope you’ll find useful (and maybe even a little bit “cooling”).

“Hot, Dry Summer: Is it Bad for Bulbs or Good?” (Aug. 2016),

“Learning from California: Gardening with 28% Less Water” (Oct. 2015),

“Hot Summer = Dahlia Hell” (Aug. 2012),

“Got Drought? Bulbs Are Built for It” (Aug. 2011),

“High Heat Stresses Your Bulbs, Too” (Aug. 2010).

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Garden writer Stephanie Cohen – who’s been called “one of the most influential women in horticulture” – gives our ‘Nonette’ a shout-out in the August 2018 issue of Fine Gardening.

Calling it “A Dahlia to Die For,” Stephanie writes that ‘Nonette’ has “bright apricot flowers that are speckled with burgundy,” and “even those who consider themselves dahlia connoisseurs find this particular blossom so unique they will stop and stare. As with many bicolor dahlias, the red stippling is highly irregular: one flower may have a lot of mottling, while another may appear to be just solid apricot. But the surprise is half the fun!” ‘Nonette’ also produces lots of flowers, “giving you plenty for the garden and the vase.”

Although it sells out every year, ‘Nonette’ is available now for delivery next spring. For plenty of flowers that will make you stop and stare, order now!

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With the national debate on immigration raging, and Independence Day just past, We’ve been thinking a lot lately about the plants in our gardens that have come from other countries.

From tulips and peonies to dahlias and iris, our gardens are filled with immigrants. And although it’s possible to have a garden of only native plants, I think gardeners of all persuasions would agree that our lives have been enriched by 99% of the once-foreign flowers that have made themselves at home here.

So here’s a list of where the bulbs we offer came from originally. As you may notice, some are listed in more than one area because, to Nature, it’s all one world.

Mexico and South America – dahlias, tuberoses, rain lilies, oxblood lily.

Africa – gladiolus, freesia, crocosmia.

China, Japan, and Korea – most peonies, many daylilies, tiger lilies, Formosa lily, gold-band lily, red spider lily, pink surprise lily.

Asia from Turkey and Syria to Afghanistan and Mongolia – tulips, hyacinths, crocus, bearded iris, regal lily, Madonna lily, Byzantine glads, Elwes snowdrop, Turkish glory-of-the-snow, Allium sphaerocephalum, sowbread cyclamen, sternbergia, Siberian squill (which, despite its name, is not from Siberia).

Europe – daffodils, bearded iris, crocus, martagon lilies, Madonna lily, Byzantine glads, lemon daylily, traditional snowdrops, snowflakes (Leucojum), Spanish bluebells, winter aconite, snake’s-head fritillary, Grecian windflower, Allium sphaerocephalum, sowbread cyclamen, sternbergia.

North America –trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, Dutchman’s breeches, Lilium superbum.

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June’s articles included a Swiss expert’s top lily picks, Southern tulips, skyrocketing prices for iris art, multiplying hyacinths, and “we believe most of the world’s ills can be solved in the garden.” You can read all of our back-issues at oldhousegardens.com/NewsletterArchives – and we’re adding the best articles to our blog!

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Please help us “Save the Bulbs!” by forwarding our newsletter to a kindred spirit, garden, museum, or group. Or if a friend sent you this issue, SUBSCRIBE here!

Simply credit www.oldhousegardens.com.


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