In the Garden : A New Bunch of Bulbs

Six years ago I wrote about how we’d found a good place to get tulip bulbs for our garden. A friendly and helpful salesperson at Canadian Tire told us about a “gold mine” of a garden centre, where we’d find all the bulbs our hearts could desire. That was the East End Garden Centre, (located in the Leslieville neighbourhood, at 1395 Queen Street East).

The thing about spring blooming bulbs, including tulips, daffodils, crocuses and hyacinths, is that you have to plant them in the autumn, so they’ll bloom in the spring. So, there’s a good six months of delayed gratification involved with them. Also, you have to realize you’re going to want tulips in your garden in the spring, half a year earlier in the autumn, when most gardening tasks involve dealing with a growing season that has come to the end.

That’s all to say that, aside from the red tulips the former residents had planted and a random couple of bags of bulbs I’d put in the second year we lived here, we had never really gotten the spring flower thing mastered. And, every April, as we walked around admiring other people’s gardens, we’d say to ourselves, this fall, we must remember to get some bulbs.

Anyway, we finally did remember to get some six years ago, which is when we tracked down the East End Garden Centre as a source.

And, oh the thrill of seeing them appear in the garden the following spring! It was very satisfying, indeed. So thrilling, in fact, that when October rolled around again, we went back to the garden centre for more. That time, we branched out and, in addition to a few more tulip varieties, we also got some hyacinths and Alliums (which are a member of the onion family and produce big round purple flowers).

So, in the spring of 2014, we presented a small patch of ground, decorated with a riotous array of colours. I don’t mean to boast, but we’d look out the window to see people just standing beyond the fence, looking at all the flowers. One day we walked out the door to find our somewhat curmudgeony elderly neighbour out there with his camera, snapping shots. He said he hoped we didn’t mind, and that it reminded him of what his mother’s garden had been like.

The payoff of so much joy for a relatively minimal amount of effort caused us to agree that we’d continue to add to the bulbs every autumn. And then we preceded to forget to do so for the next 4 years.

During that period, some of the previously planted flowers came back every year, but with each year, there were fewer and fewer returnees. Some varieties did much better than others, and some completely died away.

That brings us to a couple of weeks ago, when we drove over to the trusty garden centre to get more. As you’ll see by the photos, they certainly had what we were looking for. We walked away with 65 bulbs, but we really could have gotten more. They carry so many varieties.

We were there before Halloween, so while that holiday is now over, I can’t not post these photos of all the decorations and pumpkins they had out …

We got 30 tulip bulbs, all types we’d never tried before, including some aptly called “Toronto”. The package says that these will have several flowers coming from each bulb, so they’ll be quite exciting to see come up.

We also broadened our assortment by adding some crocuses, snow drops (which supposedly bloom when there’s still snow on the ground!) and fritillaria. These all promise to “naturalize” meaning that they should multiply and spread out further each year. I’m interested to see if they will.

I also got another package of Alliums — the one’s I planted 5 years ago had completely died away, but they were so spectacular when they bloomed back then, that I wanted a repeat performance. This time I put them in a spot where they’ll get more light, so we’ll see if they do better this time.

Of course, I’ll be back in the spring to show you how well everything has done. I’m pretty excited about what is to come and look forward to the surprise we’ll receive in six months time!

Thanks for reading, and wishing you a great weekend.
xo loulou