Another Couple of Bulbs You Really Need
In a recent post I concluded an orgy of bulb buying by buying some more bulbs. Specifically, two bulbs which you should consider for your own garden, assuming 1) you don’t have it already; and 2) the conditions are appropriate. The two bulbs of which I speak are Tulipa praestans ‘Fusilier’ and Camassia quamash, also known as Quamash or Wild Hyacinth.
Years ago I ordered T. praestans ‘Fusilier’ but I’m pretty sure I got ‘Unicum’ instead. ‘Unicum’ looks just like ‘Fusilier’ except that it has variegated foliage.
The main thing about this Species Tulip is the color: a truly vibrant scarlet that I love. Also, it blooms fairly early in April, helping one’s springtime pulse to quicken.
Species Tulips tend to be more reliably perennial than their more refined cousins, and may even naturalize. Sadly, this is not the case with T. praestans. Even so, T. praestans is a good candidate for growing in pots, since it’s unlikely to last more than a year anyway. That’s exactly what I did with the 50 bulbs I ordered from John Scheepers.
Quamash is a native to the Pacific Northwest but it is hardy in USDA zones 4-8. It has several important virtues. First of all, there are the lovely star-shaped blue flowers that grow on upright stems about 2′ tall.
Second, Quamash is more tolerant of moist soil than most other bulbs. If happy, it will naturalize. Quamash is also rodent-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about the display of azure flowers being cancelled due to rabbit or vole attack.
And Quamash is a bulb with a good sense of timing. It blooms in late May, after most Tulips are done and there isn’t a great deal going on in the garden.
Have you grown either of these bulbs? If not, what are you waiting for?