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October 21, 2015

— Saadi, Persian Sufi poet, in Gulistan (The Rose Garden), 1258

Save Up to 25% on 54 Bulb Treasures

Where’s My Order?

Search of the Month: Fragrance

Raves for Hyacinths

Better Together: ‘Carlton’ Combo

Gardening in Drought

Adopt a Dog Month: Wilma and Tink

Good news! Although 90 of our treasures are already sold out, it’s mid-October and we still have too many bulbs looking for good homes, so we’ve dropped prices on 55 varieties to entice you into enjoying their awesomeness in your own garden.

Save 25% on dainty Tulipa marjoletti, radiant ‘Firebird’ daffodil, and 4 other overstocked beauties.

Save 20% on “pink” ‘Mrs. Backhouse’ daffodil, wildflowery Roman Dark Blue hyacinth, rosy little ‘Roseus’ crocus, and 13 other treasures.

Save 15% on mind-blowing ‘Zomerschoon’ tulip, zone-6 hardy Byzantine glads, fragrant regal lily, and 8 other treasures.

And save 10% on ‘Festiva Maxima’ peony, “pink” ‘Romance’ daffodil (it’s back!), wild Florentine tulip, and 17 others.

See them all at our Bulbs on Sale page — and then order online or call us at 734-995-1486 for a winter full of sweet anticipation and the satisfaction of getting a great deal!

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Share our sale with your garden friends by either (a) forwarding this newsletter to them or (b) sending them to our "Better-Late-Than-Never Sale" page. And if a friend sent you this newsletter and you want to receive it every month, click here to SUBSCRIBE.

Despite some tardy bulbs and a lily catastrophe, orders have been flying out the door here since Oct. 1. We’ll ship most orders by the end of next week, and everything by Nov. 6 or so.

We ship orders to colder zones first, but don’t worry — we reserve bulbs on a first-come first-served basis, starting with orders placed last December.

If we have your email address, you’ll get an alert when your bulbs are shipped. And if you have specific delivery needs, simply let us know and we’ll do whatever we can for you.

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Is it wrong to love our Advanced Search? We don’t think so!

Let’s say you want to add more fragrance to your spring garden and bouquets. Simply (a) click the “Advanced Search” link on any page of our website, (b) choose “all fall-planted” in the “Bulb Type” menu, and (c) click the “Fragrant” check-box. In a flash you’ll get this list of 66 fragrant, fall-planted bulbs. How easy is that?

If you want, you can fine-tune the list by hardiness zone, animal resistance, color, and more — or start another search. Have fun!

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Although once the most popular bulb of all, hyacinths are rarely found in most gardens today. If you’re not growing them, you’re missing something special — as these fans will tell you:

Writing in Horticulture magazine, our good friend Marty Ross of zone-6a Kansas City, MO, tells of planting hyacinths “here and there in groups of three or five, almost like wildflowers. The soft pink ‘Lady Derby’, which has been around since 1875, is one of the prettiest, and it has persisted in my garden for years. I grow it among epimediums, hardy begonias, and a splashy variegated hosta; they hide the hyacinth foliage when it flops over in late spring.”

Double ‘General Kohler’ “keeps on multiplying,” our long-time customer Donna Mack writes us from zone-5b Elgin, Illinois. “Every year I have more, and the bulbs are huge. I think you’re right that they like being dry in summer. I have them planted among ornamental grasses — they’re lovely there when the grasses are cut down in spring — and that area has a low priority when it comes to watering. You should see them! Every spring more and more appear. This past spring, I must have had half a dozen new ones.”

And in Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets, Debra Prinzing of zone-8b Seattle recommends making small, multi-colored bouquets of nothing but hyacinths. “A singular sensation — for the eye as well as the nose — hyacinths are so stunning that it’s hard to justify pairing them with any other flower. In fact, you really only need one hyacinth bulb, cupped in a special forcing glass, to experience the arrival of spring on your windowsill. . . . When I brought home a mixed bunch from the farmers’ market, they filled my car with a heady perfume.”

See for yourself by ordering a few of our 15 awesome hyacinths (several of which are on sale at 10-15% off) or our easy Easter Basket sampler now!

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The right companion can make any plant look better, so we’re always on the lookout for flattering combos. “Spring Planting Ideas” in the April 2015 issue of Fine Gardening offered several winning combinations including this one from the New Jersey Botanical Garden:

“Bold colors, big charm — This classic daffodil [‘Carlton’] is what we envision when someone says ‘daffodil.’ It’s big, bright, and happy. Underplanting it with the speckled leaves and pink-and-purple blooms of a lungwort [Pulmonaria] makes it pop even more.”

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Congratulations to our friends in California who, faced with what’s been called the drought of a lifetime, have cut their water use by 28% in the first three months of state-mandated reductions.

In September, my wife and I saw the drought first-hand while visiting our son and daughter-in-law in San Francisco. Plants drooped, dead leaves littered the sidewalks, and lawns in the city’s parks sported signs proclaiming “Brown is the New Green.”

It’s no wonder our orders from California are down 25% this fall! But bulbs, ironically, are built for drought. Many have evolved in areas where summers are so dry that to survive they have to hide out underground. Tulips, hyacinths, alliums, Byzantine glads, freesia, and oxblood lilies, among others, actually do better with dry summers — although they need some water in fall through winter to develop roots and more in spring to grow leaves and bloom.

In August the Pacific Horticulture Society newsletter offered some excellent tips for xeric gardening, by editor (and OHG customer) Lorene Edwards Forkner:

“Recently I read some great, if somewhat blithe, advice from garden writer Amy Stewart on tending a low/no water garden:

“1. Plant drought tolerant plants.

“2. Wait and see what dies.

“3. Plant more of what didn’t die.

“You can read the entire piece at The No-Water California Garden.

Lorene also recommended “Adventures in Growing” about an American woman “creating a fertile landscape in Saudi Arabia and winning the hearts and minds of its caretakers,” this advice from “the great minds at Flora Grubb Gardens,” and Jeff Moore on the “Generosity of Succulents.”

“Then hit those fall sales,” she concluded, “for a dose of colorful, graphic, and resilient plants that take dry weather in stride” — including our fall-planted bulbs!

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To celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, here’s a happy story from one of our new customers, Wilma Willette of Bloomington Springs, TN:

“For my 80th birthday, I asked for a small dog. I went to the shelter and picked out one named Tink. She had a bad hip and front paw. Someone was not very good to her.

“Tink is a rat terrier. She hates to get up every morning (I have to pull her out of bed) and she loves to eat. Now you cannot tell there was ever anything wrong with her hip and foot. She is about one year old, very smart and very spoiled.”

My wife and I are sure glad we adopted our first dog a couple of years ago, a lovable little rat terrier we named Toby — and he sure seems glad we did, too. To learn how you can help give shelter animals in your area a second chance, or to start looking for your own Tink or Toby, go to

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Our most popular recent post was a photo of the dahlias we picked the day before our first frost here wiped them out. As one of our Facebook friends reminded us, “to everything there is a season,” but we sure hate to see the dahlias go.

If you missed that post, you may need to let Facebook know you’re still interested in us by checking “Follow” under the “Liked” button near the top of our page.

Thanks to all 13,023 fellow gardeners who’ve liked our page so far, and especially to the 352 who’ve joined us in the past few weeks. Here’s to the next season — a time to plant bulbs!

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Early October’s articles included JFK’s tulips and sampler, top award-winning daffodils, bad earthworms, seasonal bulb-care tips, and more. You can read all of our back-issues, by date or by topic, at

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!

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