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November 5, 2015

— Clare Leighton, English/American artist and author, 1898-1989

Last Chance! Save in Our Dutch Auction Sale

Found? Gaye’s Tiny White Daffodils

Thwart Animals with “Noxious” Bulbs

$400,000 Oak: One Year after the Move

Yep, it’s time to make sure every one of our beautiful bulbs finds a good home before the snow flies. EVERYTHING that’s left is now on sale for 10% to 30% off.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll REDUCE all prices another 5% on every bulb that’s left, and we’ll keep dropping them 5% more every day until everything is gone. Choose from:

23 daffodils,

8 tulips,

8 lilies,

7 diverse (including Byzantine glads!),

6 hyacinths,

4 crocus, and

2 peonies.

You still have PLENTY OF TIME to plant, unless you’re in zones 3 or 4 or at a high altitude. In most places, the ground won’t freeze until weeks after the first killing frost – and here in zone-6a Michigan we often plant until Thanksgiving or later.

Save money while you help us “Save the Bulbs!” See everything that’s on sale and treat yourself to some extraordinary pleasures at frugal prices – before they’re all gone!

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Share our sale with your friends by either forwarding this newsletter to them or sending them to They’ll be glad you did and so will we!

We love it when our customers use the “Special Requests and Feedback” section of our online order form. That’s where Gaye Ingram of Ruston, Louisiana, made this plea:

“If possible, I would like to order ten moschatus, even though the limit is five. I’ve missed it every year by ordering late. Saw it decades ago and fell in love with it. I’m well past retirement age and would like to see a wee colony in my lifetime. Thank you for considering my request.”

Being soft-hearted souls, we said yes, and when she replied, Gaye told us this story:

“Thank you! I’ve pursued that particular bulb (or what I believe is that bulb) since 1968. Not even 25 years old but with degrees almost in hand, my husband and I arrived in Ruston that year to teach literature (me) and history at Louisiana Tech. We found a sweet little 1930s house on a shady street that had belonged to the mother of the chair of the Interior Design department. We felt like grown-ups!

“In spring, tiny little cream-colored daffodils with nodding heads sprang up on the lawn. I’d grown up in Central Louisiana among people whose yards and gardens were filled with passalong plants and bulbs, but I’d never seen such a demure spring bulb. I marked them and vowed to dig one or two in the fall.

“Then we moved to another place, and built a new house. I searched ever after for those quiet creamy bulbs. Went back to the place where we’d lived, but the owners had seen no bulbs. Without care and probably having their leaves mowed in late spring, they’d given up the ghost.

“The next time I saw them was in Celia’s grandmother’s garden. [Ed. note: Our good friend Celia Jones owns a small farm near Shreveport where her grandmother once grew acres of daffodils.] Celia had only a few, and knew only a local name for them. Sometime later, when I discovered Old House Gardens, I talked with Scott, but back then you didn’t offer them and he couldn’t be sure about their exact identity. More recently, whenever you did offer moschatus I ordered too late. (One has to discipline herself to order bulbs when it is 95 degrees with 80% humidity, as it is here today!)”

We sent Gaye’s bulbs to her last week, but we’re still not sure whether our Dutch-grown moschatus – or the very similar ‘Colleen Bawn’ – is exactly the same as the once widely-grown heirloom she’s seeking. Daffodils are enormously varied, and the differences don’t always show up in photos. For example, the Dutch-grown N. jonquilla of mainstream catalogs looks very much like the heirloom N. jonquilla ‘Early Louisiana’ that we offer, but the Dutch jonquils bloom weeks later and never thrive as well in Southern heat. (Learn more here.)

But we’re hopeful that Gaye now has the sweet little daffodil she fell in love with almost 50 years ago – and if you happen to be growing the beloved Southern heirloom known as goose-neck, swan’s neck, or silver bells, we’d love to hear from you!

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We love animals, but we love flowers, too. In a recent article for the Associated Press, our good friend Dean Fosdick passed along some advice from an esteemed colleague about bulbs that are “noxious and unpalatable to foraging wildlife:”

“‘Members of the amaryllis family are the best long-term choice for predator control, particularly daffodils, snowdrops [sold out, sorry!], and snowflakes,’ said Christian Curless, a horticulturist with Colorblends, a wholesale bulb company. . . . All contain lycorine, an alkaloid both repellent and toxic to animals. . . . ‘These plants we label as deer-and-rodent-“proof” because even a starving animal won’t eat them. The bulbs we classify as “resistant” are, for reasons we often don’t understand, not preferred by deer or rodents or both. Bulbs in this category include allium, hyacinth, fritillaria [sold out], and anemone.”

Other great animal-proof members of the amaryllis family include our fall-planted but sold-out sternbergia, oxblood lilies, surprise lilies, and red spider lilies – which you can order for next fall beginning Dec. 1 – and our spring-planted crinums.

And for our tips for protecting bulbs like lilies and tulips that animals love to eat, see the Pests and Diseases section of our Newsletter Archives.

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The 250-year-old, 65-foot-tall oak tree that the University of Michigan dug up and moved has survived its first year in apparently good shape. The tree made national headlines last fall when it was moved to make way for an expansion to the Ross School of Business. (If you missed it then, read “Save the Oak!” in our Newsletter Archives.)

“It leafed out nicely and had great spring color,” U-M horticulturist Marvin Pettway said, and “it had a full crown of leaves well into the beginning of October.” Although the after-effects of transplanting sometimes don’t show up until the second or even third year, getting that magnificent heirloom through its first is something to be celebrated. Read more here.

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Thanks to all 13,075 of you who’ve liked our Facebook page! To make sure you see our fabulous bulb photos every week this winter, tell Facebook you’re still interested in us by checking “Follow” under the “Liked” button near the top of our page. It’s that simple!

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October’s articles included learning from California’s drought, fragrant bulbs, raving about hyacinths, ‘Carlton’ combo, Wilma rescues Tink, 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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