Bulbs for Continental climates, Upper Midwest--TOW

Boyce Tankersley btankers@chicagobotanic.org
Wed, 23 Apr 2003 07:29:37 PDT
I live 28 miles northwest of the Chicago Botanic Garden, and about 12 miles from Lake Michigan as the crow flies. Our summers are hotter and our winters are colder by about 5-10 degrees F.

In my home garden, Tulipa batalinii 'Red Gem'was planted 5 years ago. This morning the clumps had up to 6 flowers each. The youngest daughter bulbs on the outside edges have produced flowers about half the size of the more mature bulbs in the center of the clumps. A very nice display amongst the early daffs. Several other species are in bud. Regretably, the flowers of Tulipa pulchella var. albocaerulea-occulata, seems to be favored by rabbits above all others. These species are widely spaced in a bed planted to mimic nature. Because I use a stone mulch we refer to it as the 'Rock Garden' however the soil underneath the stones is heavy clay. The perennials and annuals used in this display require minimal amounts of supplemental irrigation during the summer.

I observed chipmunks digging the larger Tulipa cultivars in the flower bed next to the 'Rock Garden' last summer. Apparently they figure if they are going to invest that much effort in a meal ... they want a large one.

At the Chicago Botanic Garden, Tulipa undulatifolia and T. eichleri of documented wild origin from the Caucasus have come back 3 years now in the evaluation plantings. They are in a raised bed in soil with good drainage within the root zone of a Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos inermis). Hope to see them in flower for the first time this spring.

Boyce Tankersley

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