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April 25, 2014
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party!”
— Robin Williams, American comedian and actor
It’s Not TOO Late (or Cold) to Order!
It may still feel like March, but time is running out for you to order our spring-planted treasures. We’re shipping for just two more weeks, so even if you wait until June to plant the tender ones, NOW is the time to order our easy, gorgeous daylilies, iris, dahlias, glads, tuberoses, rain lilies, crocosmia, and crinums for a summer full of beauty and excitement.
Too busy (or cold or confused) to choose? Simply order our “Intro to Heirlooms” ($35 worth of great bulbs for just $30) or other easy samplers. And if you like saving money, see our “Bulbs on Sale” page for 24 frugal beauties. But don’t delay! If you don’t order them soon, you’ll miss out on all the fun!
Save 10-25% in Our “LAST WEEK to Order Iris and Daylilies” Sale!
Although cold and snow got us off to a very late start this year, our daylilies and iris have been making up for lost time and will soon be too big to ship. To encourage you to give some of these easy, graceful perennials a good home, we’ve cut prices on many of them by 10-25%, including cute little ‘Corky’ (was $9.50, now $8.08), spring-blooming ‘Orangeman’ ($7.20), tall, cool ‘Blue Rhythm’ ($6.75), and Wave Hill favorite ‘Gracchus’ ($6.38). Or try our Classic Daylilies sampler, now with a bonus fifth daylily for free!
See them all at our “Bulbs on Sale” page, but order NOW because they’re growing — and going — fast!
See Our Micro-Farms in Country Gardens!
Boy, are we excited! The upcoming issue of Country Gardens magazine features a wonderful article about us and our urban micro-farms. It starts with a big, gorgeous bouquet of our iris, daylilies, peonies, and Byzantine glads, and other photos show us sitting on our old-house porch (with Toby squirming to get off my lap) and weeding our micro-fields. The text by Anne Raver tells the story of how we’ve turned neglected spaces in our downtown neighborhood into a patchwork farm for heirloom bulbs. Country Gardens’ editor James Baggett — who lives in a charming early-1900s bungalow in Des Moines — is a long-time supporter of OHG, and we had a lot of fun with him and his crew when they visited us here last year for the photo shoot. (Thanks, James, Karla, and all!)
See the bouquet at our website, and then look for “Saving Heirloom Bulbs” in the Summer 2014 issue of Country Gardens, in mailboxes and on newsstands in early May — or subscribe here for just $10 a year!
And Our Dahlias in Martha Stewart Living!
One of our most enthusiastic customers is potter Frances Palmer of Connecticut whose hand-made tableware and vases are regularly featured in national magazines such as House Beautiful, Vogue, and Martha Stewart Living. It’s not her pottery, though, that’s featured in the May issue of Living but her beautiful vegetable garden — which, we’re proud to say, includes several of our dahlias. Look closely and you’ll see ‘Wisconsin Red’, ‘Old Gold’, and ‘Madame Stappers’ growing there, and another photo shows ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ and ‘Nellie Broomhead’ tucked into a couple of Frances’s tiny vases. Best of all, though, is a full-page shot that includes a large, informal bouquet with ‘Deuil du Roi Albert’ and ‘Princesse de Suede’ front and center. See that bouquet at our Frances Palmer page, and view the entire article at Frances’s website.
Our Top 10 Bulbs to Plant This Spring for . . .
Thomas Edison, Gardener (and Dahlia)
Inspired by the deep purple, 1929 dahlia ‘Thomas A. Edison’, our friend Betsy Ginsburg blogged recently about the great inventor’s “strong connection to horticulture.” Edison and his wife Mina were both nature lovers, she writes, and in 1885 Edison himself sketched out the landscape plan for their new winter home in Florida. It’s an orderly, geometric design with lots of trees and shrubs, broad panels of lawn ringed by flower beds, and a big kitchen garden screened from the house by a hedge of lemons and limes. Years later Edison’s good friend Henry Ford built a house next door, and in the 1920s the two men joined with tire magnate Harvey Firestone to establish the Edison Botanic Research Corporation on the grounds. Seeking a domestic source for rubber, Edison grew, cross-bred, and tested some 17,000 plants there, eventually developing a goldenrod (Solidago) that yielded almost 12% rubber.
Today the lush grounds of Edison’s Florida home are preserved as part of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates museum. You can view Edison’s hand-drawn landscape plan at their website, and read Betsy’s “Edison’s Plants and Plans” at her always interesting blog, The Gardener’s Apprentice.
More Praise for the Bulb-Building Power of Stems
Our friend Carl Van Staalduinen’s family has been farming daffodils and other bulbs at their Terra Ceia Farms in North Carolina since the 1940s. After reading last month’s article about the bulb-building value of stems, Carl emailed us with his expert perspective:
“I couldn’t resist replying to your article since we used to cut hundreds of thousands of daffodils for supermarkets in the Northeast. My dad always explained bulb flower production this way: ‘Anything green is doing photosynthesis — the more green, the more sun energy is converted into stored sugar — the more stored sugar, the bigger the bulb — the bigger the bulb, the bigger the bloom.’ Sorry for my punctuation but he always said this in one sentence preceded by an audible, deep breath!
“I like to explain it this way: Think of the green parts of the plant as a solar collector — but the leaves are only two-dimensional while the stems are three-dimensional. In the short time that a daffodil has to recuperate from blooming, make seed and, finally, produce next year’s flower buds, the additional surface area for photosynthesis that the stem provides can make a huge difference in sugar-converting potential. This underscores why it is important to leave stems on the plant if at all possible — and also why dead-heading is a good idea since it reduces ‘energy consumption.’”
Win Free Bulbs by “Sharing” Us with Your Facebook Friends
We’re giving away free bulbs or OHG credit every week this spring in our “Friends to Friends” outreach campaign on Facebook. For a chance to win — and to introduce our beautiful heirlooms to your friends — all you have to do is click the little “Share” button under any of our posts. Then post a brief “Comment” — even one word is enough — and you’re done. We’ll pick one winner every week, and thank you ALL for your help!
Our first two weekly winners are Gerry Wood of South Lyon, Michigan, who’s getting $25 worth of heirloom iris, and Joyce Davis of Ringgold, Georgia, who’s getting $25 worth of heirloom daylilies. For your chance to win this week — and help us add to our 7543 Facebook fans — go to facebook.com/HeirloomBulbs. And thank you!
Did You Miss Our Last Newsletter? Read It Online!
Early April’s articles included dahlias for weddings, advice on weeds from 1686, deep discounts on hundreds of garden books, the power of stems, my upcoming lectures at Winterthur and Mount Vernon, and more. You can read all of our back-issues, by date or by topic, at oldhousegardens.com/NewsletterArchives.
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