"For those who like to specialize in their gardening, or who possess the collector's instinct, it would be difficult to fix upon a more rewarding solution than bulbous plants in general . . . It is when we begin to specialize that we seem to get under the very skin of our craft , so to speak, when we know the purest and most absorbing preoccupation."
Louise Beebe Wilder - Hardy Bulbs 1936
We are firm believers in BULBS..........a catchall phrase for a wonderful group of plants that derive their endurance from various types of underground storage organs:
True 'Bulbs' have a short stem base bearing one or more buds enclosed in overlapping
fleshy 'leaves'. This category includes the Narcissus, Tulips, Lilies, Galtonia, Galanthus,
Fritilleria, Hyacinths and Muscari.
Corms are round thick modified underground stems having a scaly covering. Crocus,
Gladiolus, Moraea, Freesia, Ixia, and Tecophilea grow from corms.
Rhizomes develop from elongated horizontal subterranean plant stems, thickened by
deposits of reserve food. Bearded Iris are the most notable examples, but Dianella,
Kniphofia, Rhodohypoxsis, and Hemerocallis also have rhizomatous root systems.
Faithful companions of the seasons - these provident creatures pack their own brown bag lunches to sustain themselves through the year. Often able to thrive under tough conditions, their survival strategy allows them to endure adversity or neglect. Inherently generous, they reward reasonable care with yearly pleasure & annual increase
Their exceptional flowers enrich the landscape with charm and distinction. Many bloom at times when their appearance is quite surprising - and a welcome reminder of The Garden's resurgent lifeforce. A well chosen bulb will be a gratifying addition to any garden - contributing vital punctuation to every style and design.
"...anticipating and extending the gardener's pleasure in a way that is in the highest degree heartening."
Louise Beebe Wilder,
Hardy Bulbs 1936
A bit of research can be an enjoyable way to expand your horizons and refine your own choices.....So why not explore the fascinating world of bulbous plants in these works:
Bulbs and Iris by Roger Phillips & Martyn Rix, 1989 - like all the Random House paperback series, both books are outstanding surveys with pictures of native habitats
Growing Bulbs by Brian Mathew, 1997 Timber Press - an excellent basic handbook
The Iris by Brian Mathew, 1986 and Iris by Fritz Kohlein, 1988: If you are mainly familiar with the Tall Beardeds - these two scholarly reference books focus on the Iris Species that are found in the wild - universally remarkable for their intricate charm.
Narcissus by Michael Jefferson-Brown, 1991 & Narcissus: A Guide to Wild Daffodils
by John Blanchard (published by the Alpine Garden Society) The most enduring of all......
Cape Bulbs by Richard Doutt; 1994 & also The Color Encyclopedia of Cape Bulbs by
Manning, Goldblatt, & Snijman, 2002 (both published by Timber Press) A very lovely group of plants not to be missed by gardeners in California's Mediterranean climate areas.
The Tulip by Anna Pavord, 1999 - History of the art and cultivation of a classic flower
Buried Treasures by Janis Ruksans - Inspiring personal testament by one of the world's great bulbmen: Tales of genuine derring-do PLUS experienced how-to .... Timber Press '07
Bulbs by John Bryan, 2002 - the finest volume on a multi-faceted topic. Wonderful!
"From early times bulbs have been part of the fabric of the human race. Their
beauty has inspired mankind throughout the centuries and has been realized and
appreciated in literature, paintings, other art forms, and, most importantly, in living art "
John Bryan - Bulbs (Revised Ed.), 2002
. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Over the course of centuries, a vast reservoir of useful & ornamental plants has been
amassed through the attention, skill, and perseverance of countless people. Original
species have been discovered and collected; marvelous new forms have been carefully
bred and selected. Along with the beneficent Arts, this is surely the most honorable
endeavour humankind has to its credit. The work threads back through time, and it
has created an essential - but fragile - possession that is held in trust for the future.
Unlike many cultural artifacts - which can be stored indefinitely - this invaluable
horticultural heritage must be continually cultivated. The beauty and richness of every
garden’s birthright can only be maintained by individual gardeners cherishing it
personally. Otherwise, Oblivion………… Support for the various groups devoted to
advancing the work of Preservation is crucial. You may easily access the websites of:
Species Iris Group of North America; Pacific Bulb Society, International Bulb Society,
Aril Society International, North American Rock Garden Society, the Dutch Hortus
Bulborum, & the Scottish Rock Garden Society/Bulb log - for information & inspiration.
"Just as their relatives in the wild are rapidly diminishing in number, so too the ranks
of our finest garden plants are thinning . Many of them are in danger of disappearing
from cultivation, many more have already been lost forever. The problem is worldwide."
Christoper Brickell - The Vanishing Garden 1986
Henry David Thoreau famously declared: "In wildness is the preservation of the world."-
but around the world, wildness itself is under seige. The fabric of life is fraying under
a sky whose weather is indeed changing. The impacts of conflict, industrial development,
pollution, and population pressure are relentlessly destructive. All around the globe environmental niches are crumbling for the plants and animals whose very existence
depends upon them. The chaos of the human world has been damaging the integrity of the
natural world since the beginnings of civilization.......but there are limits, and it seems we have reached them.
"When the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more.......
another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again."
American naturalist & explorer, William Beebe (1877-1962)
While we all may hope the Endangered do not become the Extinct, nobody can keep a
Snow Leopard in their backyard. As with so much else in our beautiful Biosphere, essentially you can only pray for them.….The Garden is the last real refuge and power spot for most of us. In it, we take personal responsibility for our own tiny corner of Nature, and each of the creatures in it. So plant something untamed or ancient or unusual; protect something that could use a helping hand. Make the most of the opportunity to enrich your own experience, while making it possible for what you love to flourish.
"It has taken me half a lifetime to puzzle out the things most worth doing,
and a good slice out of the other half to learn the best ways of doing them…
British garden designer & author, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932)
Here at GREENMANTLE we are committed to growing and propagating wild species
and genuinely special old horticultural varieties. Both categories are under intense stress
in the modern world, ecologically and commercially. Our current selections are a small
sampling of our collection for other interested gardeners…….they are all unique plants
whose beauty, rarity and history caught our eye - and may possibly appeal to yours.
We will be sending them out from early August through early November, or while
limited supplies last. Minimum order is $20 plus a $5 shipping charge per order; CA customers please include 7.25% sales tax. Plants will be shipped by U.S. Post Office
Priority Mail - we regret that we cannot ship to Florida. You may download our Rose
Order Form to use if you wish: It can be found in the list of Links on the right.
PLEASE NOTE: All items are guaranteed organically grown - here, by us - from our own mother stocks : True-to-name, sound & healthy - viable upon your receipt of order. Since many of our offerings are uncommon - or have specific requirements -
thereafter, their well-being is in your hands.......
2009 BULB OFFERING will be posted around Summer Solstice
"The stylish thing to do is to align with one of the lifeforms
and help it be itself as long and strong as possible……..
Care about the beings you care about in gorgeous and surprising ways -
Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.
This is your last chance."
Handy Tips on How to Behave at the Death of the World 1995