The bulb season is starting again, this year also on-line!

29. August 2020 by Isabelle Van Groeningen
Categories: english, News, the garden academie | Leave a comment

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Zwiebeln - unsere Mischung Cool Border © Isabelle Van Groeningen
Zwiebeln – unsere Mischung Cool Border

Flagge Deutschland für deutsche Übersetzung Auf Deutsch lesen – As the last tulips faded and the alliums put on their bouncing display in the borders, Thea and I sit down to prepare the next autumn bulb order. Each year it is an exciting but time-consuming event.  One of the biggest problems at that busy time of year is to keep a few days free so we can work undisturbed.

We look at what sold well last season, which varieties we had too little of, which ones disappointed us; what are interesting new varieties worth trying, which old favourites no longer are available;  what do we require for our design projects where we always plant lots of bulbs to provide a riotous start to the new season; which of our much loved bulb mixtures to do we keep, change or replace; and then last but not least: how many? Although we can, and always do, place further orders during the actual bulb season, there is always the risk that some will have ran out.

Our Bulb mixtures

KGA-Label “Cool Border”

Each year we offer a number of bulb mixtures based on our own bulb displays in the borders. The idea came as many people wanted to have the mixture in the big border. We also noticed some customers being somewhat overwhelmed by the huge range of bulbs available and being quite happy to take a “Balcony”, “Meadow” or “Bee” Mix home.  Some of these mixtures have become classics, available each year like the “Cool Border” based on the big border. Over the years even this has slightly changed for the simple reason that my much-loved Allium aflatunense has disease problems, so we cannot find a bulb grower that supplies reliably healthy stock, and Tulipa ‘China Pink’ seems to be a name given to several pink lily-flowered tulips, but our supplier cannot find a reliable source which really can deliver the right one.  

See “Cool Border” in our online shop

New Mixture: Velvety Soft – Samtweich

Zwiebeln - Fritillaria 'Early Fantasy' Eranthis hyemalis © Isabelle Van Groeningen
Fritillaria ‘Early Fantasy’ Eranthis hyemalis

Last season we tried a new mixture of comforting warm velvety colours: Sulky dark red tones of Tulipa ‘Dom Pedro’, ‘National Velvet’ and the slightly lighter red ‘Pallada’. These are lightened by the orange ‘Prinses Irene’ and coppery ‘Cairo’. Floating above these are the elegant flowers of a delicately coppery-peach coloured crown-imperial Fritillaria ‘Early Fantasy’. Planted in large tubs with Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’ or scattered through a border they will bring a glowing warmth to the garden.

KGA - Aufkleber Samtweich © Isabelle Van Groeningen
KGA – Label “Samtweich”

See “Samtweich” in our online shop

Parrot tulips

Tulipa 'Rococco' Zwiebeln © Isabelle Van Groeningen
Tulipa ‘Rococco’

We always have a special “parrot mix” which changes from year to year. I love parrot tulips, and like to plant them in large pots placed on the terrace or by the front door so I can look at them closely. Although normally I dislike “freakish” plants like those with variegated foliage or filled flowers that are far-removed from their normal, natural wild appearance, but the parrots keep me enthralled like a child in the circus. Their changing, variable colours and feathery shape make them so exotic and fascinating that they deserve close scrutiny. ‘Texas Gold’ a large, late yellow variety, seems quite un-exciting when it starts to flower: clear yellow with a slightly feathered edge. As time goes on, a thin red line appears along the edge of the petals, which seems to “bleed” into the petals as the flowering period progresses, becoming more and more streaked red. This year we have introduced an old favourite of mine Tulipa ‘Rococo’. It is a rather short, red variety revealing a multitude of colour hues, enough to make any painter want to grab for his or her paintbox.

Online Web Shop

The prolonged lock-down period this spring, have meant that we too have been thinking long and hard about our business, constantly making changes and adjustments where possible and necessary. All along our main concern has been to protect the health of our staff and of our customers, and we are well-aware that some people prefer to avoid confined spaces or larger crowds. With this in mind, we have finally taken the plunge and decided to offer our bulbs on-line. This summer we have re-organised space in order to do so. We are not able to offer the whole range of the 280 bulb varieties we sell in the bulb house, but I selected my 101 favourites which are now available on-line in our web shop, together with our 14 special house mixtures. Many people have been involved in setting this up, it has been hard work, but great fun to develop something new. We hope our customers will enjoy it too!

Visit our online shop!

QR Codes to identify the bulbs

Part of all this change is an environmentally friendly innovation is the introduction of QR Codes for the 101 Favourites. Most mobile phones are able to read these codes when in camera-modus and provide a direct internet link that shows the details of the plant. So, before you despair when surrounded by lots of bulbs, wondering which is which and what they will look like, you can just check out the details. With time we plan to equip more and more plants with such codes. They will help us in future to do away completely with the large plastic plant labels with colour images.

Zwiebeln werden entladen © Isabelle Van Groeningen
Unloading bulbs

Yesterday 750,000 bulbs were delivered – 16 Pallets stacked high with heavy cardboard boxes. As soon as this article is ready, I am off into our bulb house counting bulbs into little paper bags. Some may think how this is a dreadful way of spending a cool, overcast afternoon. I don’t: there is nothing nicer than spending time in the bulb house counting bulbs into paper bags, whilst dreaming of spring, and planning which bulbs will be planted where. How beautiful it will look!  All that accompanied by the comforting rustling noise of others doing the same.

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