A new year in the garden

Jill Severn

On Sunday, there is daylight from 7:51am to 4:52pm. Light-seeking enthusiasts will find that since the winter solstice, the amount of daylight has increased by a minute and a half per day. Spring is still ahead, but it’s time to start. Just keep getting up every morning and it will come.

This pleases the gardener’s heart.

I also got some good news in my mailbox this week. The first garden catalog has arrived from K.van Bourgondien. This is a catalog of bulbs and plants, no seeds. Full of what we crave for this time of year. Each page features vivid color photographs of flowers, ferns, and houseplants.

Images refresh and awaken us.

K.van Bourgondien is an oddity in the horticultural catalogue. And it’s not just because we don’t sell seeds. They call themselves a wholesale nursery, so if you fall in love with any of the products featured on the page, the minimum order is 5 or 10, and sometimes 100.

But at this time of year, what we are looking for are ideas, and the catalog gives them away for free. I can’t vouch for the quality, but I appreciate the fantasy each page inspires.

My fantasy focus today is on bulbs that can be planted this spring and therefore should be ordered soon.

anemone, for example. I have tall, August-October blooming Japanese sea anemones, but since I grow small 10- to 12-inch sea anemones (also called poppy his sea anemones) that bloom in May and June, It’s been decades. This catalog contains a mixture of bright reds, blues, pinks and whites.

Bulbs multiply and bloom for many years. These are the flowers you want a lot and this catalog will send you 25 of him for his $8.50. But it would be better if they were sorted by color. A red sweep would be great. At Eden Brothers, they are categorized by color, and their website shows a wide variety of varieties, including a stunning purple/blue and the pinkest pink on the planet. But oh, colors… resistance may be futile.

Ranunculus Gorgeous too, and like the sea anemone, fun to name. K.van Bourgondien has many. This is another small bulb that grows between 1 and 2 feet tall. Its flowers are said to resemble peonies, but it’s a stretch. The similarity is that, like most peonies, each flower has countless petals, but their personalities are very different.

Both anemones and ranunculus are controversial members of the buttercup family, which includes several shady characters known to be invasive weeds. Easy-to-grow bulbs have some really nice Italian ones grown from tissue culture (similar to cloning) to ensure breeding purity.

Both anemones and ranunculus should be planted in early spring. Some people plant them in the fall, but the bulbs don’t do well in damp areas.

K.van Bourgondien also has a lot of nice looks. Lily, but I’m partial to our local, or at least locally accustomed, lily pad bulb farm. Currently relocating camp to Myrtle Creek, Oregon. I’ve been buying lily bulbs from them since they sold them at Farmer’s Market in Olympia many years ago. (And priced accordingly.)

These should also be ordered immediately for later spring plantings as the best varieties are often in short supply.

A new year has begun – with catalogues, daydreaming and a mild warming garden fever.

Jill Severn grows and writes vegetables, flowers and a small flock of chickens in her home in Olympia. She loves conversations between gardeners.Let her start by sending her an email jill@theJOLTnews.com

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