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February 7, 2014
“In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
— Albert Camus, 1913-1960, French-Algerian author and existentialist
To Warm Your Winter, Order NOW for Spring Planting!
If you’re sick and tired of winter, here’s a sure cure: stroll through our virtual garden of bright, beautiful flowers for spring planting – and then treat yourself to a few of them! Despite some early sold-outs, we have plenty of amazing antique iris, daylilies, dahlias, glads, tuberoses, crocosmia, rain lilies, and our 8 easy samplers waiting to thrill you at oldhousegardens.com.
Shipping starts April 1 – and don’t worry, spring IS coming!
Already Sold Out: 12 Dahlias, 9 Glads, and . . . .
We’ve never sold out of this many varieties this early, but 21 of our rarest dahlias and glads are already gone. Sorry! We’re running low on others, too, so if you’re thinking of ordering ‘Ehemanii’ canna, ‘Autumn Minaret’ daylily, or ‘Contentment’, ‘towhead’, or ‘Violet Queen’ glads, don’t delay!
New This Month: 7 Rare Glads, 3 Great Dahlias, and 9 Bumper Crop Discounts!
A couple of days ago we added 9 more awesome heirlooms to our website – 6 of which we’ve NEVER offered before – and we cut the prices of 9 others by 15-25%. Enjoy!
NEWLY ADDED VARIETIES:
‘Juanita’s speckled twin, ‘Nita’ dahlia,
vivacious rose-pink ‘Radiance’ dahlia,
pink pompon ‘Miss Rose Fletcher’ dahlia,
parrot glad, the first African glad in US gardens,
rose and wine-red ‘King Solomon’ glad,
blazingly beautiful ‘Isle of Capri’ glad,
‘Frisky’, ‘Atom’s brilliant grandchild,
cute little ‘sunbonnet Sue’ glad,
tropical-fruit smoothie ‘Charisma’ glad,
tiny, radiant ‘sunset Sky’ glad.
BUMPER CROP DISCOUNTS:
raspberry and bronze ‘Indian Chief’ iris,
‘Rosy Wings’ iris, a “delightful fantasy of colors,”
155-year-old ‘Queen of May’ iris,
‘August Pioneer’, our longest blooming daylily,
Zorro’s favorite daylily, ‘Caballero’,
5-foot tall ‘Challenger’ daylily,
the Lauren Bacall of glads, ‘Dauntless’,
spring-green and cream ‘Mexicana’ glad,
‘Jersey’s Beauty’, the 20th century’s most popular dahlia.
Last Chance: Order by Feb. 28 to Save 10% on FALL-Planted Bulbs!
Since Mother Nature is making winter last so long, we’ve extended our Winter Dreams sale one last month. That means you can still order daffodils, lilies, peonies, tulips, hyacinths, crocus, and diverse others for planting this fall at 10% less than LAST fall’s prices. The sale ends February 28 – no matter what Mother Nature decides to do – and you can always add to your order later, so why not turn up the heat and order a little more spring right now?
Millions of Dahlias Decorate Mammoth Floats for Dutch Parade
Here’s a visual treat for all of us who are hungering for summer: the Corso Zundert, an annual Dutch parade featuring 20 spectacular floats, each covered with up to a half a million dahlias. It’s like the Rose Bowl parade on steroids, or LSD. Started in the 1930s, it’s an all-volunteer effort by the people of the small town of Zundert – Van Gogh’s birthplace – and a local art school. Each float can be up to 60 feet long and three stories tall, and they’re all decorated almost entirely with dahlias picked from 600,000 plants that are grown locally just for the parade.
But a picture is worth a thousand words, and the real treat is seeing the colorful, wildly imaginative floats themselves. Start at the parade’s homepage – “Welcome at the website of Corso Zundert!” – and be sure to click the center of the photo for an introductory video. There are fascinating pages about the parade’s history and how the floats are constructed, along with many other photos and videos. Don’t miss the video of last year’s top float (first row, second from left) and the reaction of its builders as their victory is announced. No matter how winter-weary your heart is, it will be warmed.
Meet the Spiderman: The Colorado Father of ‘Kindly Light’ Daylily
With its long, curling, ribbon-like petals, ‘Kindly Light’ is both strikingly beautiful and a ground-breaking daylily. In her fine A Passion for Daylilies (1992), Sydney Eddison tells of its breeder, a man who saw the possibilities for beauty in a form that everyone else at that time was scorning. She writes:
“To daylily people, a spider is a flower style, originated in the early forties by LeMoine J. Bechtold on his Colorado property nine miles south of Denver. He had chosen this location for its beautiful setting with a view of the Rockies and for the stream which would provide water for his numerous horticultural enthusiasms and experiments.
“Bechtold’s Christian name was the inspiration of a plant-loving mother who insisted on calling him after French horticulturist Victor Lemoine. As a boy, young LeMoine may have found the name a burden, but it proved suitable after all. He grew up to love plants and soon became involved in hybridizing. His earliest love affair was with dahlias. Later, he embraced gladioli, peonies, irises, and even lilacs, and then he discovered daylilies. In fact, he found so much pleasure in this new hobby that it often took precedence over his music business, and for this, fanciers of the spider daylily can be grateful. . . . LeMoine Bechtold’s ‘Kindly Light’, registered in 1949 and introduced by the Wilds in 1952, is still the standard for spider daylilies.”
What Do You Call That Space Between the Sidewalk and the Street?
Words have always interested me, and once I left the small Michigan town I grew up in and discovered that virtually no one else in the world calls the space between the sidewalk and the street “the boulevard,” I’ve been asking people, “Well, what DO you call it?” This spring there’s a new book coming out about planting that narrow bit of land. It’s called Hellstrip Gardening, which is definitely a catchier title than Boulevard Gardening, but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone in Michigan call that bit of land the hellstrip. Maybe it’s because here in the Great Lakes State we usually have plenty of rain, so our hellstrips aren’t all that hellish.
As I looked through Timber Press’s promo material for the new book, I was thrilled to read that the hellstrip is “also known as tree park, BOULEVARD, meridian, and planting strip.” (The capital letters, of course, are mine.) Now when people correct me and explain patiently as if I might be stupid, “Oh no, a boulevard is a street with a strip of grass down the middle of it,” at least I can add to my usual “Well, that’s what we called it in Niles,” a much more convincing “According to the authoritative and highly regarded Timber Press, boulevard actually is one of the accepted names for that space.”
So what else is it called? I’ve collected many boulevard/hellstrip alternatives over the years, but I’d love to hear what you call it – and be sure to tell us where you live (or lived when you called it that), so we can track the regional distribution of the names. Rita has volunteered to tally them for us, so email her at email@example.com, or post them on our Facebook page. And then stay tuned for a full report in our next newsletter.
Join the Countdown to Spring with Us on Facebook
Another 247 fellow gardeners joined us at Facebook in January, bringing our total “likes” there to a dizzying 6734. Thank you, all! If you haven’t yet, we hope you’ll come take a look and join us in celebrating the first signs that spring really is returning. Remember, winter is shorter when you share it with friends!
Did You Miss Our Last Newsletter? Read It Online!
January’s articles included our new dahlia farmers, Craig and Megan of Sun Moon Farm, the real (and” fearless") Mrs. George Darwin, unfloppable ‘Autumn Minaret’ daylily, the newly proclaimed garden capital of Texas, crinum fragrance, crocus beer, and more. You can read all of our back-issues, by date or by topic, at oldhousegardens.com/NewsletterArchives .
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