Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's Late Summer and A Gardener's Thoughts Turn To Fall Planted Bulbs

After we moved to what was to become Clay and Limestone we discovered many surprises in the house and garden. Mary Jane, the former owner may have gardened, but at the time of the sale the fall of 1986 the yard was covered with weedy lawn, the Vincas, both major and minor,  a few Phlox paniculatas and ugly foundation plantings.

Imagine my delight the following Spring to discover daffodils everywhere with their great big golden yellow trumpets. They were wonderful, but, trumpet daffs weren't the only ones planted in the rocky, clay soil.
The sweetest small cupped daffs that I had ever seen bloomed just a bit later! It didn't take me long to find out that they were from the Poeticus group (or that there were so many different groups and thousands of daffodils). These gifts from generations past are incredibly special to me. I've divided them many times, but, the garden is so much shadier than it was 26 years ago and they aren't as floriferous as they once were.
The ones in deeper shade are just about ready to open
So naturally, I've had to limb up the canopy trees to let more light in... We're ready, the garden and I, for an increase in Spring flowering bulbs. They'll be more from the Poeticus group and I want
Narcissus 'Carlton'. I bought daffodils labeled 'Carlton' in a big box store many years ago, but, I am not sure they were the real thing and I want the real thing.
don't you agree that Spider Lily really does fit as a common name
Lycoris radiata is blooming right now and  a bigger swath will be a stunning sight along the path in the front garden next August. Although, Spider Lily blooms in August in my garden, it gets planted in the fall along with the daffs and other necessary bulbs!

There are surely more Spring blooming bulbs for C and L and Scott at Old House Nursery is just the guy to talk with about which ones make sense for my Middle South garden.

What are your Spring bulb plans?

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.


  1. I was in a nursery yesterday, and saddened by the huge cost of bulbs up here. They are not really that far from the coast, so the cost should not be as high as it is. Potted gold, that's what they are.

    I think I need to find my first batch at a big box store, otherwise I will never be able to buy any. There are only a few botanical tulips growing in the garden, but I plan on adding many daffs for that early color.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  2. I prepared my first order. They are just so many good ones, and I laugh every time I think about what people will say if I ever sell this house. I can hear Christopher's voice in my head about being a crazy bulb lady. Oh well, there are worse things. I love your spider lilies. So pretty.~~Dee

  3. Species tulips, chionodoxa, pushkinia -- all these will/should/may survive my dry shade garden and the squirrels. But I'm tempted by their beauty to add some Princes Irene tulips, and daffs. They might not last but a year, however… if you don't plant, they won't come up for sure. Enjoy your beautiful garden. Wish we could over-winter lycoris. So exotic.

  4. Beautiful photographs! And isn't Narcissus poeticus a perfectly poetical name? It's a "pheasant's eye," too, right? I have a clump here in Nashville, and they smell lovely. You've inspired me to find more...

  5. Oh yes indeedy, Gail, thoughts always turn to fall planted spring blooming bulbs about this time of year. So far I have ordered lilies, tulips, daffs and crocus. There might be more to come....

  6. We also call these Hurricane Lilies here because they bloom during hurricane season. Mine are just about open now. Just hope I get to garden some.....well, in a couple of months.

  7. Gail,
    Funny you should ask, I just wrote a post about my plans the other day. Well, at least my plans for now, I'm sure they will change before the ground freezes...

  8. Hello Gail, I can't wait till my Lycoris radiata blooms. It is 1 yr now planted from a very small bulb sent by a US friend blogger. I planted it in pots as I know it will become invasive here too. I think i am the only one who planted it here. And your daffodils are marvelous too, am so envious.

  9. I would like one of everything. I doubt I get much planted unless we start getting some rain. I bought a martagon lily this year and it didn't come up. WHINE~~

    1. Are you getting any of the rains that are moving through Missouri from Isaac...I hope so! So sorry about the martagon...

  10. Might put more daffodils in this fall, but not sure. I do have a bunch of crocus on order from Brent and Becky's...so need to figure out where they will go. (think I had a plan, but that was a LOOONGGG time earlier this spring!!) The current issue of Southern Living has a wonderful photo of a large sweep of Lycoris radiata...just lovely.

  11. Funny, a catalog came the day before yesterday and I haven't been this excited in years to get one. Like you though (so long ago) I have only just moved into my new place and although I didn't hesitate to dig up a bed of English Ivy to plant the shade loving perennials I brought along from my rental house, I'm reluctant to add any more until I see what appears in spring. I did find a few tiny bulbs in an Iris bed but those are the only ones that I'm aware of. The great thing is that the couple who lived there before me were mad gardeners. I doubt there will be any shortage. Love the photos and good luck with your new additions.

  12. That must have been delightful--that first spring seeing all the colorful spring flowers! I have a variety of Lycoris in my garden, too--love 'em! Besides being gorgeous, they have a fascinating growth pattern. Beautiful blooms!

  13. I love alliums and plan to plant more...I also have a few surprises but had not considered the spider lily...hmmm...

  14. I have been thinking about fall bulbs, too, but I haven't done anything yet other than a pre-order of tulips I made a couple of months ago. I love the white narcissus, too, and would like to add a few more of those. Thanks for the tip on the spider lilies--I've always admired them, but now maybe I'll remember to add them to my fall ordering list.

  15. Lovely photos, Gail. Maybe this post will get me thinking about bulbs, which had not yet been on my radar. Still wrapping up Indian Summer... :)

  16. I've been working on a small bulb list this year - and Old House Gardens is my go-to company.

  17. These are beautiful! The coral color is so appealing. I am thinking about my bulbs now...

  18. Hi Gail just stumbled upon your site & love the pictures, very lovely! I haven't planted any bulbs just perennials & a few veggies up here in my NH garden. I hope to get some divided plants from my Aunt -who know cares for Grams garden. Both of my Grams had beautiful gardens & give them credit w/ my love of flowers. i look forward to seeing more of your photos.

  19. Norma October9, 2012

    I'm 75 years old and planted 117 spring bulbs this fall in my Indiana garden! And then I planted 6 more Hyacinth bulbs in a pot to try and force to bring inside this winter! You are never too old to plant more flower bulbs is my motto!


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson