Our Bulb guru, Mike Smedley, always has interesting things going on in his yard. In his part of town the other night the temperature got down to 23F at night but that means nothing to determined daffodils and tulips. Here's his account of an early bloomer that demonstrates the incredible geographic range history of many of our favorite bulbs. Here's Mike's account...
"This tulip has a great story. It’s Tulipa dubia ‘Beldersai,’ which I picked up on a whim at Denver Botanic’s bulb sale a couple years ago. Being a Steppe region native, this tulip been a colorful and dependable addition, with red and yellow petals and purple-stained foliage, in the dry crevice rock garden. Then, in 2019, Amy and I went to Uzbekistan to tour the Silk Road. Part of that trip was to the eastern mountains and a place called Beldersay, a Soviet-occupation-era ski resort. There, we went on botanizing hikes and saw wild tulips growing naturally just below melting snowfields in the Chimgan Valley. When we got back home, I finally put it together. THIS tulip was grown from seed collected right there in that valley of Uzbekistan. It’s a small world.
But even before the Beldersai tulip bloomed, one of the earliest wee daffodils sprang up. This is Narcissus 'Little Gem,' a specialty selection from the Durango Botanic Garden's bulb sale last year. Not only does Little Gem bloom in late March, it’s as small as a Dutch crocus, shown paired with purple-striped Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick,’ which also was a purchase from the sale. Grown together, they are a smashing combo. Little Gem is lucky to reach 5 inches tall, but the flower offers that “traditional” daffodil look, with an outsize trumpet and bright yellow hue. Yellow Gem is also more drought tolerant than most daffodils, an added bonus."
Durango Botanic Gardens will conduct it's annual bulb sale online from August 6-17.