Rob is back home after a 4 week shopping trip buying for the Detroit Garden Works spring 2015 collection. He drove over 4000 miles, and visited over 50 garden antiques shops and shows- not to mention individual artists and craftspeople whose work he admires and would want to represent. He brought home close to 1500 pictures from his trip, some of which I will surely post. He had business in the Cotswolds in England, and had time to to visit the Burford Garden Company in the heart of the Cotswolds, in Oxfordshire. From their website:
Burford Garden Company is a family-run business, established nearly four decades ago by Nigel and Louise Johnson. We started life as a simple plant nursery on a derelict farm in the Cotswolds, where we still are today – perched above the hills in the Oxfordshire countryside. We have now grown to become home to one of England’s largest and most exciting shopping destinations. We have one of the country’s most imaginative and inspirational product ranges for the garden and the home, all hand-picked and expertly curated by our team, the people who make up Burford Garden Company. Our innovative and creative retail practices have always blazed a trail – winning medals at Chelsea Flower Show along the way – and setting new standards of excellence which have made the Store a much envied market leader in its field today.”
Rob emailed me these pictures from their bulb room. What a thrill for any gardener with a big love for spring flowering bulbs to walk into this room! There were bulbs of every description and cultivar as far as the eye could see. I would be beside myself, trying to decide which bulbs and how many. Their display was plain breathtaking – crates chock full of bulbs, and neatly arranged and labeled brown paper bags to the side. Just imagining what all these bulbs would look like in full bloom – exciting.
A roomful of brown orbs that would need to be planted when the weather has gone chilly-only a gardener who loves flowers in the spring would fall for this. Each of those brown bulbs represents the opportunity for a glorious spring moment many months away. Nature is pretty strict about the planting requirements-plant them now, or do without in March, April, and May. Even the bulbous alliums need to be planted now, for a bloom time in June. I don’t mind planting bulbs. It is an investment in the future. Most bulbs are fairly tolerant of any positioning, provided they get below ground before the ground freezes.
A tulip can be planted any side up. A bulb which is planted up side down does not mean game over. Tulips will sprout, and grow towards the light, no matter your planting technique. I rarely dig holes for bulbs. That method of excavating soil, setting a bulb, and refilling the hole is so tedious. And unnecessary. A perennial spade that can make the slightest slot in the ground down about 6 inches will do. Small bulbs can be pushed into the ground the requisite 3 inches with an index finger, providing you have good and friable soil.
The spring flowering bulbs we have available at Detroit Garden Works is nothing like the experience of the Burford Garden Company. We have a highly edited and quirky list of spring flowering bulbs we would not want to live without. Chionodoxa Forbesii Giant is astonishing beautiful in bloom. Though this picture (courtesy of John Sheepers Bulbs) is a very close view of a very small flower stalk, what gardener would not want this spring blue in their life! The bulbs are no bigger than a thumb – this means easy to plant. My advice-plant this fall for the spring to come. You won’t be sorry.
tulip Jaap Groot
The lily flowered tulip Mariette is a beautiful shade of dark carmine pink.