Diane Whitehead

Victoria, British Columbia, on the Pacific coast of Canada, enjoys a mild maritime climate with rainy winters and dry summers. The predominant season is spring, which begins around Christmas with masses of snowdrops and ends sometime in May when roses signify the arrival of summer. Summer-dormant bulbs are well-suited to the climate, and early each spring, bunches of daffodils are air-freighted to colder parts of Canada.

My garden is a mostly-shady half acre of sandy soil on a hill near a gravel pit. Spring bulbs love it, except for ones that require moisture. Summer-blooming bulbs like Dahlia, Gladiolus, and Rhodohypoxis grow well in the open garden, though dahlias really do better if started in warmth indoors. The ones left in the garden start growing late because our soils take a long time to warm up. I am gradually discovering which bulbs need regular summer watering, so I am having better success with Arisaema, Crocosmia and Schizostylis.

I buy bulb seeds from central Asia, southern South America and South Africa, hoping to find some that will prove hardy here.

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