Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Is It Too Late to Talk About Bulbs? November 12, 2008

Every year, I attend the University of Washington Arboretum’s annual bulb and plant sale madness. I usually try to go at the beginning of the first day, which is a total insane crush, elbows flying everywhere to get to that almost-black tulip or unusual fritillary variety.

This year, they added an extra day, Monday, after the weekend rush. I figured the selection would be a little less but that it would be made up for by the lack of patrons. I’m just not up for crowds this year. I was right on both counts – fewer choices, but almost no people! I could actually see the descriptions for a change and didn’t have to say “excuse me” even once!

Bulb sale

I usually go in armed with a list of my hoped-for finds, but this time I just scanned their PDF and figured I’d get what struck me at the sale. That’s always a recipe for over-buying, at least for me, but oh well. Since I hadn’t been to any of the big fall plant sales, I hoped to do some perennial and groundcover shopping too, since they usually have a great selection at this event. Alas, they had neglected to post on their web site that the plant vendors were Saturday/Sunday only. Here’s what I had to choose from:

Plant sale slim pickings

Uh, yeah. Not exactly the selection I was hoping for. But then I saw some happy-looking gals walking past with flats full of plants. I shamelessly pounced on them and asked where they had gotten their finds. They pointed me toward a part of the arboretum that I had forgotten about:

UW Arboretum donated plants sign

Oh, yeah! Probably not too much that’s really unusual here, but lots to choose from, raised with love and care, and donated to the organization by local gardeners. I thought about Megan over at nestmaker when I saw this baby Katsura tree, which she has been jonesing for. I think it was 11 bucks.

Mini katsura tree

I ended up with a couple of cute little drought-tolerant plants for the parking strip – sedums (oreganum, the small one at bottom right in the photo below, and multiceps at top right), sempervivum (‘Stansfieldii’), and a variegated semi-evergreen carex I’d admired in others’ gardens, Carex morowii ‘Ice Dance.’

Bulb sale bonus plants

Oh, but this post was supposed to be about bulbs, right? Here was my haul:

2008 bulb haul

Somewhere, there is a piece of paper with all of the varieties listed. Can I find it at the moment? Of course not! But suffice to say that I did spend over $100 and I didn’t get them in the ground right away. Same old story.

In the next week, I hope to put up another post about planting the bulbs, and about my attempt to protect them from Dr. Destructo, the nefarious squirrel who likes to mess with things I love in the garden.

Are your spring-flowering bulbs all tucked in safely for their winter naps? If not, it’s okay to admit it here – I will not judge!


9 Responses to “Is It Too Late to Talk About Bulbs?”

  1. Gail Says:

    I may have said this before! But I have lost all my allium bulbs someplace in the house, car or yard! Sigh! That is a very nice haul! gail

  2. Megan Says:

    Such a sad little perennial display to choose from, too bad they cleared out early. I never get bulbs anymore, since my unfortunate bulb infestation makes it impossible to sort the weeds from the keepers. Even when they’re in the clear, I always cut the leaves back too early and ruin them for the next year. I should probably stick to bulbs in pots. But the black tulips and unusual fritilaries are tempting.

    Thanks for the link 🙂

  3. I planted some bulbs this fall for the first time in a long time. Danged if I didn’t find one dug up a couple of days ago–but I can’t figure out where it came from! Did the little twit dig it up, and then fill the hole back in or something????

    I think they are just messing with my mind…

    Anyway, great haul you got there. I like the sedums especially. Do tell us about the planting!

  4. Joy Says:

    Hello Karen
    I just wanted to drop by and say how much I appreciated your note .. it has been heartening to hear from so many people and I am trying to get to you all individually ..
    Thank you so much for you kind thoughts Karen ..
    Joy : )
    PS .. I did finally get those daff bulbs in .. but what a chore ? haha

  5. Curmudgeon Says:

    I’m seeing blue sky and some bright shiny thing up in the sky–and it’s not raining. I’m heading out to get a few remaining stragglers in the ground. Chicken wire laid over the area where you put in the bulbs-and held down with rocks–seems to do a good job of keeping the SQUIRRELS away.

  6. easygardener Says:

    Hopefully your bulbs will stay where you put them. If not I look forward to the next squirrel post 🙂

  7. Jen Says:

    So what bulbs did you get???!! Tell! Or will you leave us hanging til spring? (It’s okay, I like surprises)

  8. kristi Says:

    I have to say that’s still better than our UC Davis arboretum sale.
    but holy cow that’s a lot of bulbs you will have lots of gorgeous flowers come spring.

  9. SusanO Says:

    I’m in Portland and I’ll be putting my bulbs in this weekend, so I’m hoping it’s not too late too!

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