Historic Garden Week: Behind the scenes in Gloucester Gardens

Brent and Becky's hybridizing fields Brent and Becky’s Bulbs was named by The Wall Street Journal as the number one bulb company, but for the citizens of Gloucester, Brent and Becky have always been number one in many ways.  They are incredibly knowledgeable and their generosity is legend, both in Brent’s native Gloucester and far beyond Gloucester to cities and communities across the country.

The Garden Club of Gloucester relies on Brent and Becky for advice for Historic Garden Week bulb plantings.  With their recommendations, we turn our gardens into a sea of colorful daffodils. Gardeners and landscapers look to them for guidance and for the best bulbs available today.  It all makes sense when you know Brent and Becky consider themselves educators first, gardeners second and bulb-sellers third.

Ware Neck landscaper, Sue Perrin, has her own list of personal favorites from Brent and Becky’s Spring/Fall catalog.  For homeowners on the Historic Garden Tour or bulb lovers statewide, she has listed the bulb name, catalog page number and the reasons behind her choices.

Sue:  “The following are my favorites. They have multiplied and remained strong performers in my garden. I tend to like the miniature and mid-sized bulbs for flower beds. I like to see the large sized ones grouped in the landscape away from the house, at the edge of the woods where the maturing foliage gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day and some dappled light after that. In such an area you can let weeds/grass grow along with maturing foliage and not be bothered with the ‘mess.’ Too often I have seen daffodils planted in too much shade and they decline with time even though they are fertilized. Apply fertilizer in October after the first year. I use “Potato Fertilizer” from Southern States Cooperative. It is their own 3-9-18 and has quintupled in price in the past 2 years. It comes in 40 lb. bags, so you would not be able to use it until you had a large bed but it is still quite a bit cheaper than BulbTone. For just a few daffodils, use BulbTone or whatever Brent and Becky have in their shop. They are making their own brand and it will be excellent.”

* Will bloom for Garden Tour the last week in April.  Brent suggests planting them in late Nov. or early Dec. to make them bloom late.

Miniature and mid-sized Daffodils:

Baby Moon*   p. 29, qty: 20, late bloomer, adorable.

Hawera    p. 31, qty: 20, mid-late, multiplies like crazy.

Jonquilla var. henriquesii   p. 31  20, Golden gold, showy, likes to bake in the summer sun by a walk of rock.

Golden Bells  p.31, qty: 20, teeny tiny but showy.

Minnow p. 32, qty: 20, 5 or more tiny yellow and white flowers per stem, delightful.

Sun Disc* p. 33, qty: 50, reliable, late.

Sweetness p.25, qty: 20, So fragrant, a must.

Golden Echo (!!!) p. 24, qty: 20, Brent and Becky’s own hybrid, great substance, mid-sized, long-blooming, top of my list.

Jetfire p. 22, qty: 20, early (Feb.), reliable.

Ice Wings p. 21, qty: 10, nodding, white, 3 per stem.

Large favorites:

Bravoure  p. 10, Greatest substance, gorgeous.

Pink Silk  p. 11,  I won best-in-show, plus it multiplies like a rabbit.

Lorikeet  p. 11, Unusual color combination, stunning.

Audubon  p. 12, Great substance, reliable.

Ceylon p. 13, One of Brent’s favorites.

Pink Charm  p. 15, Reliable pink and white, lovely.

Stainless* p. 16, Pure white, late.

Other favorite bulbs for here and there:

Hyacinthoides hispanica ‘Excelsior’*  p. 71,  qty: 100, voles like these so protection, old-fashioned, can seed around in time, likes the woodland setting.

Ipheion uniflorum ‘Rolf Fiedler’  p. 74, qty: 50, Grows in the grass, sweet.

Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’* p. 76,  qttL 50, underrated, white, long blooming.

Muscari armeniacum p. 78, qty: 100 (a must !), electric blue complements all other bulbs, esp. daffodils.

Galanthus elwesii  p. 8,  qty: 20 (plant now!), snowdrops are earliest, can take some shade, like a moist but not boggy area. Almost all bulbs require good drainage.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

7 thoughts on “Historic Garden Week: Behind the scenes in Gloucester Gardens

  1. Thank you so much for these bulb ideas for garden week. Can’t wait to see Sue’s garden. Does anyone have a list for perennials for that time of year (in Richmond)?

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    • Jeannette, Perennials for that time of year? They are still sleeping in my garden. That’s why B & B photograph many of the daffodils in their catalog with other bulbs. Some of my favorites are are the blues: grape hyacinths, multi-flowered Hyacinths, Chionodoxa.

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  2. I notice a suggested quantity of bulbs on Sue’s list. Is this list for larger properties? I have one acre residential lot and I would probably need to scale back quantity. Any suggestions?

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    • Bev, The daffodils listed with quantities are for a small garden. The quantities may seem high: however, the daffodils are all in the mid-sized to miniature categories and need at least a dozen in each group to make an impact. The non-daffodil bulbs are also quite small and would need groupings of at least 10 each to look “natural.” Be sure to look up the heights of each bulb so that you can place them well in your garden. Golden Bells makes a color impact but is tiny and should be near the front of the border. It’s foliage is attractive so will not deter. The daffodils with no quantity are large and should be planted at the back of the border or across the yard where maturing foliage is not a bothersome issue.

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