Order your bulbs online now

Order your bulbs online now

Life & Style
Vogelvry Bulbs and Flowers normally run a stall at the Salamanca Market in Hobart (closed temporarily). Call (03) 6261 3153 to order your bulbs.

Vogelvry Bulbs and Flowers normally run a stall at the Salamanca Market in Hobart (closed temporarily). Call (03) 6261 3153 to order your bulbs.

Aa

Autumn is bulb planting time and bulbs are an excellent introduction to mail order plants.

Aa

As I write, a retail lockdown in Australia seems certain. It may well mean the temporary (I hope) closure of garden centres but gardeners can take heart, Australia has wonderful mail order nurseries.

Autumn is bulb planting time and bulbs are an excellent introduction to mail order plants.

They don't have roots at this stage of their development so they won't be root bound and there's no foliage to wilt and die if they're kept hanging around in the post office for too long.

Tasmania is included in some of Australia's best bulb growing regions.

Bill and I made a trip to Hobart just before the first coronavirus cases were announced in Australia and all travel including domestic was off the agenda. You have to be lucky sometimes.

I was even luckier to find Maaike and Jan Barnhoorn of Vogelvry Bulbs and Flowers at their stall at Hobart's Salamanca Market, as the markets went into shutdown shortly afterwards.

I collected a bargain bag of Maaike's 20 mixed daffodils for $20 and would have grabbed 50 for $45 had not the weight deterred me.

I like to travel light and an inner voice told me an extra 2 kilograms on the return flight would be pushing my luck with carry-on.

The Barnhoorn family have been growing tulips and narcissi since the 1850s in Holland, as well as species crocus and gladioli corms.

Maaike and Jan are carrying on the family tradition on their farm at New Norfolk, 40 kilometres from Hobart, in a district ideally suited to bulb growing.

Daffodils are happy in the cool uplands of the NSW ranges but they struggle in hotter, drier climates further west.

Autumn is bulb planting time and bulbs are an excellent introduction to mail order plants. - Fiona Ogilvie

Even here at 600 metres, global warming and drought are affecting my daffodils, though I still can't resist trying.

On the other hand, I've noticed more and more Californian and South African bulbs increasing beautifully, among them sparaxis, species gladiolus and ixias.

California and South Africa's hot summers are closer to Australia's than those of Britain and northern Europe and their bulbs are a better choice for water-conscious gardeners.

I'm a sucker for blue flowers and I love California brodeias, especially dark blue Brodeia (syn. Tritelia) 'Queen Fabiola'.

Queen Fab is usually described as spring flowering but here she blooms in early November with the first roses. Umbels of starry flowers reach 40 centimetres and are lovely among peachy gold 'Just Joey'.

Another of my much-loved blues is Ixia viridiflora, whose flowers are turquoise rather than the green its name implies.

South African, winter flowering Veltheimia bracteata (from The Diggers Club, www.diggers.com.au) has pinky purple flower spikes among broad, glossy leaves and tolerates shade, drought and low temperatures, what's not to love?

Perfect among Mexican succulent, Beschorneria septentrionalis (occasionally available from Lambley Nursery, www.lambley.com.au) a restrained version of the B. yuccoides that I wrote about last spring (The Land, November 14, 2019).

Vogelvry Bulbs and Flowers (www.vogelvry.com.au) are taking orders now for next season's bulbs. PO Box 369, New Norfolk, Tasmania, phone (03) 6261 3153.

Aa

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