Is a pot of peculiar bulbs the adult version of sea monkeys?

Did you dream of a tiny kingdom of Sea Monkeys?  I did. Or were you the Living Magic Rock kid?  Both? Me too. Are you now ready for the grown-up version? 

We put together a box of peculiar bulbs with quirky, enticing traits. They all fit in a pot. Planting them, watching them grow will bring hours of winter fun and as the Sea-Monkey ad says, “a bowlfull of happiness” through spring.

Like SeaMonkeys, your Bizzare Bulbs “require little care, LOVE attention, can be trained to OBEY your commands* A 6-year old, or ANYONE who adores pets will NEVER tire of watching them!”

Now honestly, these are all nice, lovely garden plants. This will be your bulb meadow in a pot.  We do like to share obscure little facts, so read on to discover their peccadilloes…..  Read on below or order yours now. 

*SeaMonkey quotes may not be true of your bulbs but they sound pretty good don’t they?

 

Snake Lily  Drancunculus vulgaris

Dragon Lily at J. C. Raulston Arboretum

Snake Lily or Dragon Lily fascinates every one of every age. Not just the flower either, for me, it’s the entire organism. Top to bottom. Below ground, that engorged disk makes a perfect storage case.  Everything that will grow to fascinated us is packed inside that palm-sized tuber.  Then a thick stem pushes up, snaked skinned and fragile, it spirals up a foot or so. And reaches for something, like a vine searching for light. Silver brushed leaflets unfurl and float and start feeding the tuber. That energy pushes the prize, at first a black snake of a flower, it too unfurls to reveal garnet tissue, thick, leathery petal. Enchanting, rich color, repulsive smell. Flies swarm to find the sweet dark rotting smell emanates for just a few hours.  Our teaching moment, our learning moment, our “Oh man nature blows us away moment.”  Have the camera ready.  

At their peak, these cuties reach 5 inches tall.

Tiny Tulips Tulipca clusiana

Parrots, ruffles, stripes, or crazy colors, tulips get bit and beautiful for two weeks max then they die. But this funky little cousin actually multiplies.  It actually sets seeds that come up.  Now it may not be with you for 50 years but I have a colony that’s at least 12 years old.  Beside’s being peculiarly small, the other thing that makes tiny tulips peculiar is that they live.  We like that.

It doesn’t end there. Tiny tulips are nasty. Nyctinasty. They do it in the dark. When the sun goes down (or behind a cloud) nyctinasty flower close up. You can watch them do. Why? No one knows. Maybe they keep precious pollen safe when the bees are bedded down? Or keep it fresh and dry?

Baby’s Breath aka Grape Hyacinth  Muscari neglectum

Most grape hyacinth wither away in our humid summers. But this odd little species has been our bulb lawn for longer than I have been caring for the lawn; almost 40 years.  It spreads and it sets seeds that come up in dry parts of the bulb lawn.

In Turkey, the species has been used as food and dye.

In Italy, wild-collected flowers were once used to die eggs purple for Easter. The intense blue flowers release an equally intense, sweet, grape soda fragrance that attracts all sorts of insects.

A strong flavonoid can be used as a natural preservative and coloring compound. I’ve never eaten it, colored with it or turned it into medicine, but after years of trying many other flashy cultivars of grape hyacinth, Muscarii neglectum is the only one I plant.

Snake Lily, Guinea-hen Flower, Dead-man Bells     Fritillaria meleagris

There are endless, somber and scary common names for this much love English wildflower. It’s tiny checkered, purple flowers are so loved in fact, that even though it’s probably not native to the island, many English gardeners refuse to accept the fact that it’s really from wet meadows of the Balkins.

Checkered purple flower rise on impossibly thin, wiry stalks in April. By end of the month heat, they wither away. Every Fritillaria I’ve ever planted eventually died. It’s just a perennial in our climate. But it is a fun little flower for a season.

Your new collection of oddities doesn’t end there.  If you pot these things up the first warm Saturday in January, do you really want to wait till March to see a flower?

Mixed in your bulb bag, are picotee crocus. Like the other Mediterranean bulbs mentioned, this little crocus resents summer rain. But plant crocus in a un-irrigated lawn, or close to a brick edge and they’ll come back for 3 or 4 years.

This package is a tremendous value. Compare online prices.  We a limited number.  Click here to Order Now  

 

 

If you’d like to read more about our decades’ old bulb lawn, check out the detailed plant list and cultivation in the  March essay of Funky Little Flower Farm. 

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