The Early Bird Catches the Bulb

Last week I placed my order for fall bulbs from John Scheeper’s. Normally I order bulbs right around Labor Day, so I was about a month later than usual. But it’s been a busy fall.

tulip suncatcher

Wouldn’t you know it, though: Tulip ‘Suncatcher’ was out of stock. I ordered this Tulip for the first time last year and it quickly became one of my favorites. It’s yellow and scarlet flowers glowed brilliantly in the sunlight.

As a substitute, I chose ‘Annie Schilder’. Like ‘Suncatcher’, ‘Annie Schilder’ is a Triump Tulip, a cross between the Early Singles and Darwin Hybrids. I’ve grown this one once before, and it’s very good – but not as exciting as ‘Suncatcher’.

Otherwise, I ordered the Tulip varieties that have become my standards:

tulip ballerina

‘Ballerina’, a Lily-Flowering Tulip.

2015-05-04 08.24.14 couleur cardinal
‘Couleur Cardinal’

‘Couleur Cardinal’, an Early Single with rich plum color.

Tulip princess irene
‘Princess Irene’


‘Princess Irene’, another Early Single, soft orange flushed with purple.

tulip fostery king whte base
‘Fostery King’


‘Fostery King’, a Darwin Hybrid colored scarlet with a white base for startling contrast.

These Tulips are all for planting in containers. For our beds and borders, I ordered the following:

Persian Star – Allium christophii, at Toronto Botanic Garden

Allium christophii, also known as Star of Persia. These have lavender purple blooms that suggest exploding fireworks. It’s an Allium that Judy has wanted for a long time, though I have no idea at the moment where to put it.

Drumstick Allium


Allium sphaerocephalon, Drustick Allium. These will be planted at the front of the Sidewalk Border. They bloom in July, so as to take over from the Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum).

Glory-of-the-Snow at Lurie Garden this past March

Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa sardensis). As often happens, I developed a powerful impulse to buy this plant after seeing it at the Lurie Garden. It’s a very early bulb, but more colorful than Snowdrops and more rabbit-resistant than Crocus. I chose this variety because its blue flowers have the smallest white center, which Judy found unappealing.

DSC_0507 casa blanca
‘Casa Blanca’

Finally, I ordered a few hardy Lilies. All but one of the ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental Lilies in the back garden have died, so I ordered a few more. Instead of planting them in a block, I’m going to split them up to see where they do best.

Finally, I’m trying a couple of the Martagon Lily ‘Sunny Morning’. The bulbs are expensive, but I just read an article claiming that Martagon Lilies were fairly shade tolerant, so we’ll see.

All together, I ordered 200 Tulips, 100 Glory-of-the-Snow, 75 Alliums, and 13 Lilies.

Were you late like me in making your bulb order for the fall?


58 Comments on “The Early Bird Catches the Bulb”

  1. How nice that you grow tulips. I still will not grow them. It bothers me to spend so much on something that blooms so briefly, and is not really perennial in our region. I will go for it eventually; just not this year. When I do, I will probably stick with the simple ‘Maureen’.
    Allium christophii happens to be one of the bulbs that I almost got this year. I want to know if they will be perennial here. I get mixed reviews, so it is probably best to try it myself. There is another smaller one known as ‘Mount Everest’ that looked interesting. I believe that I can get both in a nursery in town, so would not even need to mail order them. Lilies I have no problem with. I know that they are very short term perennials (that may bloom the second year), but they are so pretty, and last well enough, that I do not mind spending a bit on them.

  2. I just planted a few bulbs today. I don’t plant many, and just get them locally. Only crocus, and grape hyacinths, and my new one this year is anemone blanda. I’m not an adventurous bulb planter! My Tet-a-Tet daffodils continue to spread and flower reliably. I’ve never gotten into tulips, my mother’s always reverted back to plain red.
    The tulips you like are gorgeous!

  3. That’s a lot of bulbs! Too bad they were out of stock on your favorite tulip. I normally order in August, but fall snuck up on me this year and I didn’t order anything! I ended up just buying some crocus and daffodil bulbs from Walmart. We’ll see how they turn out. I normally buy more tulips every year, but most of the older ones have still been coming up with nice sized blooms, so I decided to save a little money this year and hopefully spend it on some cold-hardy roses next spring!

    • How long Tulip bulbs can be counted on to keep blooming is an interesting question. I go on the assumption that the ones in pots need annual replacement, but I know that many Tulips are reliably perennial for years. A lot must depend on the local conditions, as well as species and variety.

  4. Great bulb choices. You reminded me that I haven’t even put my bulb order in. I rushed off to do it before commenting here. Sone of my favourite tulips had sold out. The early bird catches the tulip. I look forward to seeing your fabulous tulip pots.

  5. Those are all lovely choices. You ordered quite a few. Do you ever re-use your bulbs? Do you dig them up and re-plant or just leave them in the ground/pots? I’ve been really happy with how the Daffodils seem to return year after year, although this year I did divide some and gave some away. I ordered a few more Alliums and some Camassias–I need to get going getting them in the ground!

  6. I love that suncatcher.
    So far I’ve been good with the bulb orders, and by that I mean I haven’t bought many… other than a few tiny things that can’t possibly be held against me.
    We will see if I make it through the next month.

  7. Oh, they are all so beautiful! ‘Couleur Cardinal’ and ‘Princess Irene’ are my favourites.
    Tired with voles and frost issues, this year I don’t plant any bulbs in the ground. đŸ™‚ My best risults ever were in Italy with ‘Queen of Night’ tulips that, almost neglected, were blooming every year better than the previous.
    Happy gardening!

  8. I ordered mine in mid-September, but they still haven’t arrived! I’m getting rather panicky because of last night’s frost and knowing I don’t have a lot of time in the next few weeks to plant bulbs. I may still be out there when the snow flies! I ordered more daffodils and alliums this time, partly to fill in a long space where I’m trying to create a “river” of daffodils and partly because I’ve given up tulips in one bed where the squirrels, voles, and whatever other critters seem to dig. But I will be planting more ‘Princess Irene,’ not only because they’re beautiful, but also in memory of my mother.

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