I treated myself to Ken Druse's latest book — "Natural Companions" — for my birthday last Spring. The scanner photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp are breathtaking, making for a book that is incredibly beautiful, while it's filled with Druse's usual wit and wisdom. While pouring over the images of flower combinations, I discovered this grouping. I quickly realized that while I am growing all three plants — Geranium phaeum, Fritillaria mileagris and Euphorbia 'chameleon' — it had never occured to me to create this particular combination.
I'm sending off to Old House Gardens where I can buy the dark maroon guinea hens, aka checkered lilies aka snake's-head Fritillaries. It will be easy to intersperse the bulbs amoung my numerous clumps of "mourning widow" geraniums. The Euphorbia self-seeds so I'll just need to find a couple of errant plants elsewhere in the garden and move them where I need them to create my own version of this display.
It is already late in the game to be placing my first order for spring bulbs. Some of my favorites from OHG are already sold out. But there are still some tulips and lilies that I am lusting after. I love bulbs from OHG because they all come with history and a story. Both are things that are important to me as a gardener.
And I've also had great luck with their bulbs, many of which are not found elsewhere.They are not necessarily the cheapest bulbs but there are discounts for volume and the unusual selections just can't be beat. Among the OHG bulbs I've grown, and can personally recommend, are daffodils 'Daphne,' 'Dreamlight,' 'Pheasant's Eye,' and 'Rose of May.' Tulips are mostly the orange flowered ones, excpept for the intriguing Acuminata, Clusiana (above with grape hyacinths), and the voluptuous 'Schoonoord.'
I clearly seem to be entering a murky purple flower phase because I just edged the bed underneath our Purple Fountain weeping beech with Iris pumila 'Cherry Garden ' (above) which I've been growing since 1990. And I plan to fill the inside of the bed with Black Parrot tulips from OHG and Tulipa humilis 'Odalisque' from Brent and Becky's Bulbs. The latter bulb (below) is a little hot pink number that should provide some pizzazz for the Parrots.