Monday, April 12, 2010

Lily bulbs

My order from Brent and Becky's arrived on Friday: very modest, just 5 Begonia grandis, 10 Formosa lilies and 5 Lilium superbum, a new one for me.

I spent a happy, cool afternoon potting them and sprucing up the terrace. Also putting the pretty China to the use for which it was intended...

The superbums, above and below, at $6.24 a piece, seemed teeny! Half an inch in diameter, and appeared to be immature, stem bulblets harvested from above a mother bulb, rather than bulbs that had born a crop of flowers already. But I am not familiar with them so sent off an email to Brent and Becky's asking if they expected them to flower this year. Within 5 minutes Becky herself had replied, saying Yes! They will flower. Later I found that one bulb had rotted, so I have four planted. I admit I am sceptical. But you'll hear about the results.

The Formosas (not pictured) seemed normal, though a little small.

I have only ever worked with hardy begonias that are potted in quarts or larger, so the bulbs (below) seemed small to me, with one on the squishy side with no signs of life. I potted four. At $5.00 a piece I think it worthwhile to ask for one replacement. It might seem petty, but I am not a trust fund gardener. Is it petty?

These are begonias from Glover Perennials, planted two summers ago in a Brooklyn garden I designed. Will mine look like this?

Things are happening fast. The heatwave last week jump started a lot of growth.

And the first fly of the season has just flown into the apartment...Bzzzz!

* 4/13/10: Emailed Brent and Becky's about replacement bulbs and waiting to hear back.


  1. For that price I wouldn't expect to be getting any rotted bulbs. I'd ask for a replacement too.

  2. I love these pictures...I need to be better at adding a bit more personality to mine.

  3. Absolutely have it replaced. I'm not sure if you've used Brent and Becky's before, but the quality of their bulbs is usually AMAZING! I've purchased from a lot of online seed/bulb companies. Brent and Becky's bulbs have consistently produced and look strong and beautiful from year to year.

  4. i assume when you paid $5 for a bulb you might expect a healthy bulb. seems fair to me to have a healthy bulb.

    i have used brent & becky's bulbs & i would be surprised if they do not make good.

  5. No, not at all petty. They need to know there was a problem so they can fix it. (And any good company will do so;they'd rather you told them nicely than bad-mouthed them.)

  6. m.heart - I will, I must, I shall, now.

    Tomas - thank you - your pictures are perfect.

    eileen - I have actually used Brent and Becky's before, and never any problem. I imagine it's a tricky business, keeping bulbs with a limited shelf life on the...shelf.

    Donna yup, and I know they're good. They're also nice.

    dinahmow - Yes'm.

  7. Hello Marie,

    How did your superbums do in the end? For that sp, the bulbs you got did indeed look tiny, also, they did not have the typical sub rhizomateous shape of a superbum bulb....superbum usually produces in time quite a large bulb which will send oyut a stolon underground, at which a new bulb will eventually form, and so clump up in time...flowering sized tuberbums are usually golfball sized, or slightly smaller, but can also get huge in time.

    You can see a picture here that I took of a flowering sized superbum, on the PBS Wiki :

    superbum also usually does not produce any stem bulblets, although I have seen bigger bulbs ocasionally being stem rooting...

    The formosanum you got also looks like a 1 year old seedling, although it seems they can flower in 18 months from seed I have heard...

    Kind regards

    Pontus Wallstén


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