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Hortus Bulborum — Soooo Yesterday

Just call me a relic. That’s right — rub it in — I’m obsolete. And guess what. Some of my best friends are equally archaic. And here comes the confession — my garden is a total museum. If something is old (the older, the better), I automatically yearn to grow it. It’s not hip, it’s not keeping up with the Joneses, it’s not riding the current wave, but it’s me. And when people come to my garden, they are clearly just being polite…because they seemingly love hearing the stories behind the auricula primroses that Flemish weavers grew during the cottage industry era and the Phlox ‘Old Cellar Hole’ dug up by my friend at Perennial Pleasures Nursery from an abandoned homestead.

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Daffodils at Acorn Bank garden, Cumbria, UK, mostly wild Narcissus pseudonarcissus crossed with some old varieties genetically close to the original wild species. Photo:NK.

Daffodils are somehow the quintessential spring flower. The appearance of their distinctive yellow flowers is a sure sign that winter has either ended or is about to soon. Unlike the tulip, which appears to be dependent on us for its continued re-emergence in the garden, daffodils re-appear faithfully every year; and not just in the garden but in places such as roadsides, churchyards and parks where they have been planted, often decades ago – in some cases over a century ago. These plants are clearly great survivors, as witnessed by the number of flowers which appear in places where they have clearly been accidentally dropped or discarded – the flowers frequently mark where someone emptied the boot of their car of garden waste into a ditch or hedge, little thinking that the event and scene of their crime would be annually and flamboyantly marked for so many years to come.

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Craving Color South African-Style

Babiana pulchra

Let us talk about lust. I’m speaking of the insidious longing that grips a girl who pretty much has it all — botanically speaking. I’m talking about the urge that makes someone yearn after her neighbor’s bulbs. It’s depraved. It’s desire run amok. It’s sick. And Debra Lee Baldwin — with her talk of hundreds (maybe thousands, she was vague about it) of babianas in her California yard has only fueled the fires. Because right now (Lord have mercy), I’m coveting my neighbor’s greenhouse and its contents.

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Written by Harry Pierik

In his first article for GGW, A Hidden Paradise In the City, Harry introduced us to his magnificent Dutch garden. In this article, he shares some of the 200 different kinds of snowdrops that he has collected. It’s a pictoral delight! Harry has produced a short film ‘Garden of Eden Snowdrops in the Hidden Citygarden’ in which he shows various snowdrops and elaborates on their differences which you can view on his website.   Fran Sorin 


On gloomy winter days, the Hidden Citygarden is a veritable symphony of grayish brown, ochre and countless shades of wintergreen. In the center, the topiary shows up against the green of Hedera helix. On the left, the wintergreen leaf of Magnolia grandiflora with a thin layer of suede on the underside called ‘indumentum’. Like a fur of bamboo leaves, with just a slight touch of patina caused by the frost, Peioblastus hindsii nestles herself in the trimmed holly.
In the front and center of the picture is the leaf of Epimedium x peralchicum ‘Frohnleiten’. On the right: Snowdrops will soon be appearing under the old apple tree.

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The Refrigerator Exposed

Written by Tovah Martin

So secretly – while all this was going on – the refrigerator was having a life of its own. While the amaryllis were blooming on the windowsill and the bulbs in the ex-lawn were laying dormant under their six feet of snow (the plowmen cameth) – deep in the caverns of the frig – mystery was in the making.

Because wedged between the Stonyfield Farm Organic Low Fat Yogurt and the Olivia’s Organic Salad, bulbs were starting their engines. Planted in pots, elbowing out the granola, a winter’s worth of entertainment was waiting in the wings, sending down roots while it went through the pre-chilling cycle. Never has anything in the cooler received so many visits or caused so much conversation (which isn’t a good advertisement for my culinary abilities, I know).

Tulipa pulchella ‘Tete a tete’

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