Jennifer Hildebrand


I am a professor of African American history at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Fredonia and the treasurer for PBS. I have absolutely no technical expertise with bulbs, but I'm having so much fun learning through my own mistakes and the advice of others.

After spending almost all of my life in Riverside, CA (zone 9b), I spent a quick year in Lincoln, Nebraska (zone 4) and am now settling into zone 5 in Dunkirk, NY. We're a very special little band of western New York. I live on 6th street, and that's basically numbered in blocks away from Lake Erie - so I'm less than a half a mile away from the lake. That provides a special belt of insulation, and as a result, western New York is a fantastic place for growing grapes, which of course I always thought grew only in extremely warm places like Temecula, CA. I'm still adjusting to the weather in my new home: I've gone from very dry summer highs that reach the 110s to very humid summers. The trade off is that the summer "highs" are relatively low, and it turns out that I love snow.

While living in Southern California, I fell in love with Mediterranean bulbs, especially those grown in South Africa. I've put up a greenhouse in the backyard, and am finally finding the time to get back to gardening and begin rebuilding my collection, but it's going to take a while for me to learn what sort of special care these bulbs will need in this climate, and which ones I'll simply have to live without. The plus, of course, is that I can plant tulips and hyacinths in my yard and actually expect them to return the next year!

Thanks to all of the members of PBS who provide such great knowledge, advice, and photos. I've found this to be the best education a geophyte enthusiast can get!

Jennifer Note: Jen has served the Pacific Bulb Society as treasurer and secretary and is currently a co-editor of The Bulb Garden, the publication the group sends to members.

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