Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Bulbs are so delicious you could eat them with a spoon. Well, not eat perhaps - although this has been done in the Netherlands in WW2 during the Hunger Winter of 1944 - but certainly plant them with it.
I do, I plant most of the small bulbs like crocus, muscari, fritillaria, some alliums, snowdrops, winter aconites and anemones with a spoon.
I love bulbs, they are such powerhouses, aren't they, and pack quite a punch.
It's amazing to see what gorgeous flowers come from such in essence unprepossessing bulbous lumps.
First you plant the little darlings and after several months of looking at a dull brownish grey garden suddenly WHAMMO you get hit in the solar plexus by wonderfully vibrant colours. They simply sock you in the eye and you take it like a lamb.
Planting scheme Jacqueline van der Kloet

Bulbs, let there be bulbs, zillions of them!
Designed by Jacqueline van der Kloet

Your visual cortex may be in danger of serious overload but hey, you only live once, right?

Regular visitors have sussed by now that yours truly is Dutch so bulbs come naturally to me but they could to you too, you don't have to be Dutch to wallow in bulbs.
Designed by Mother Nature

Mother nature is pretty good with bulbs too as shown in the pic above.
Planting loads and loads of the same bulbs does work but as we do not all have many acres to play with, a smaller amount of bulbs will do too, even though its impact will be slightly less spectacular.
Designed by Jacqueline van der Kloet

You could easily stuff a bed up to the gills with bulbs to create a similar effect as shown in the picture above. Frankly, I think you 're insane if you don't plant at least tens of thousands of bulbs in your garden, provided you have the right climate for it and enough dosh.

But bulbs on a very small scale work too.
Yesterday I bought these hyacinths which are now hiding in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks until they are ready to come out. They were only 80 euro cents each, including the glass. Budget gardening rocks.
Here are some of the bulbs I bought this Autumn and every year it's the same old thing; in Autumn - when I'm planting them - I think that I've bought far too many bulbs and where am I going to put them all, but come next Spring I find that it's Not Nearly Enough and that I must buy more. Much More. Very Much More!
I'm still planting bulbs. I started planting them in October, went diligently on during November and am still at it in December. Contrary to popular belief there isn't really much of a plant-by date on bulbs. As long as the soil is not frozen solid or covered in 6 feet of snow, or both, you can bung them in. Even as late as January or February.
Last July I discovered that I still had some Anemones de Caen to plant, so I did after soaking them in tepid water overnight. And as a result I had Anemones in flower in November and even now there are still some left.
Flowering Anemones in December are weird but wonderful.
It's not often that you have Anemones from your own garden in flower under the miniature Christmas tree.
In the Potager I've been scattering bulbs, casting them like the proverbial bread on the waters and having a ball with it. I've mixed a lot of different bulbs together (tulips, daffodils, muscari, fritillaria uva vulpis, allium roseum) in a big pot and then scattered them about with gay abandon. And I've bunged in an underplanting of blue forget-me-nots and white Aubrieta. Can't wait to see the result next Spring.
The Tea Garden in Weesp, Jacqueline van der Kloet's garden

If it looks anything like this I will be frightfully chuffed, not to mention smug.

copyright 2009 Y.E..W. Heuzen


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Yes, bulbs are great--I just never seem to plant as many as I'd like! :) Maybe I have to have them spoon fed to me--HA!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I could do with some of that spoon feeding too. I love bulbs but don't have too many in the garden. I treasure the ones I do have. I would love to see a field of bulbs like you have shown.

Hortist said...

I love Holland because of its bulbs and bulbous nature. Oh that i could grow so many buls here in Pakistan also as you are growing there. Anyway, I like and appreciate your passion for bulbs, keep it up :)

James A-S said...

With a spoon? you must have soil as light and fluffy as a kitten blowing bubbles.
They do look good in a spoon. I always think that tulip bulbs are the perfect shape for throwing: I am sure there is some part of the Netherlands (note careful avoidance of word Holland) where it is a recognised competition.
Tulip flinging: possibly involving a canal as well.
Am with you on bulb quantity: although a mouse (or team of mice) have just made short work of a bucket of two hundred tulips that I foolishly forgot to plant and left in the barn. I need to borrow a cat next autumn.

GardenJoy4Me said...

I am going to have to start adressing you as "Yolanda the Smug" ? soon ? LOL
I used to have those great little vases to force bulbs in and do you think I can find them now ?
One of my fondest memories was a trip to the Keukenhof and being totaly WOWED ! by the beauty of it all .. sadly back then, no digital camera .. it truly was so beautiful we were over whelmed by it.
Then again so many of the tiny gardens of our Dutch neighbors , well .. they were so gorgeous it is hard to explain to people that have never seen anything like them ?
Great post for stirring up memories .. thank you Yolanda "the bulb-woman" ? LOL
P.S. Those years we were living there .. were some of the coldest the Dutch had ever seen .. was that because we brought Canadian weather with us ? haha

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Bulbalicious indeed, wonderful for this grey December day, just what I needed. I would love to come and visit your beautiful country again but next time I would love to see the open gardens/backyards of Amsterdam. How lovely that you got a Mora klocka, they are so beautiful, is it an antique one? I know you love our Gustavian period.

LOLove Tyra

Anonymous said...

Credit card out. Fingers ready to type. Must. order. more. bulbs. And a spoon. A kitten blowing bubbles! HA


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I've got some bulbs tucked away in a cabinet in the garage. They are such a mood lifter in the middle of winter. But that's not a problem for you with your much friendlier climate. Those bulb fields are just amazing.

Gail said...

I still have bulbs and hope that the cold weather disappears so I can get them into the ground before Dec 31...Love the Tea Garden. gail

Anonymous said...

A lovely cheery, colourful post!
I like bulbs as they provide the first flowers in the New Year with snowdrops, crocus and daffodils.
Take care, Flighty xx

Naturegirl said...

Yolanda! I'm here finally! Setting limits on how much I sit at PC while I heal.
WOW!! The photo of lavender and purple blossoms make my eyes bug out!!! To have so many bulbs blossoming like that all in one place...WOW!!!
So much is on the back burner for me before the snow flys and the bulbs begin to blossom!!
Hey a NEW Beginning for me this Spring for sure! Continue reminding me to come on over when you post your fur friends!!I did view your previous posts and saw those purr-dy faces!
Purrr-Zzz aNNa xo

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

I love the idea of using a spoon to plant small bulbs! That's an awesome idea. I also love your description of feeling like you were hit in the solar plexus by the burst of colours from your flowering bulbs. Perfect description. I long to see your country when the bulbs are in their glory

MrBrownThumb said...

LOL at the first picture.

MrBrownThumb said...

btw, something at on your blog is asking for a username and password when you land on your blog.

Just thought I'd let you know.

ryan said...

I'm most of the way through our van engelen order. It wasn't tens of thousands, but it should make some flowers. Still have a bag of species tulips to go in the ground actually, my first time trying a tulip as only the species tulips come back in our zone. We don't get enough chill hours to really grow tulips the way they are in your photos, sadly.

Annie in Austin said...

Bulbs do look pretty on the spoon, Yolanda - you have every right to be smug about that wonderful garden.

There won't be much impact from the amount of bulbs I plant and we can't grow the same kinds of bulbs here in Austin as you show in your photos, but the survivors are very welcome indeed.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

em said...

i can never plant enough bulbs! i planted enough to make my tennis elbow miserable, but it wasn't so many, maybe 120. they'll disappear into nothing.

i can't wait to see how they look in your potager... how do you keep them from interfering with the spring planting?

i ordered from mcclure and zimmerman this year and got quite a moldy bunch... maybe i should order elsewhere next year.

as always, thanks for a beautiful post, and hope you get some white stuff soon!

garden girl said...

What a gorgeous post Yolanda! Your bulbs-on-a-spoon photo is wonderfully frame-worthy and very artistic and creative.

I haven't planted nearly enough bulbs - seem to run out of steam in the fall. I know I'll have regrets (again!) come spring.

Christine B. said...

The picture of the red and yellow tulips burned a small hole in my brain. You're right, I didn't plant enough bulbs. Spring can't come soon enough!

CB in Alaska

*Ulrike* said...

I love bulbs...I planted over 200 of them back in November. I did not plant them with a spoon though since our dirt here would bend the spoon!!! You did get a good deal for the 80 euro cents bulbs with glass; now that's my kind of shopping!!

Helen said...

Those fields of colour are just wonderful. The perfect tonic for a grey December day... ground too hard to plant bulbs now, even if I could find some. However, next year...

Aiyana said...

I'm trying one lone Amaryllis bulb this year--it has a tiny sprout but doesn't seem to be thriving. Someday I hope to see the acres of tulips in spring in Holland. I've always wanted to do that at least once.