For all the family and work demands of the post-Labor Day period, millions of serious and casual gardeners alike will stock up on tulip, daffodil and other bulbs like squirrels eyeing the closing sky. By early-November, the organized will have these nuggets safely in the ground. Around Thanksgiving, the laggards will rush out, grab whatever is left to buy and race against the freezing earth to bury their bulbs.
She has observed gardeners discovering novelty varieties of daffodil; daffodils and other bulbs that can be used in drifts for natural effects; tulips for orchestrated color combinations; and lesser-known bulbs, notably alliums, fritillaries, grape hyacinths and squill.
The traditional source of bulbs has been mail-order catalogues-- importers with longstanding relationships with Dutch growers and brokers. Breck's, the largest, has been selling bulbs since 1818. It now mails 50 million catalogues in North America between April and mid-September. Orders are processed and assembled in Holland, stored in climate-controlled warehouses and then shipped at planting time. The optimum time to plant is late October, after the soil has cooled sufficiently.
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