The Book of Bulbs

 

Practical Handbook of Gardening

Anyone who has observed ever so casually the order of flowering of the plants in garden or hedgerow, must have noticed that bulbous plants figure prominently amongst those which flower in the early months of the year.

Winter Aconite, Snowdrop, Crocus, Scilla, Chionodoxa, Daffodil, Fritillary, Anemone, and Tulip are among the greatest treasures of the spring garden, and though these are not all strictly bulbous plants, they all have either bulbous, tuberous, or other enlarged form of root or underground stem which serves a like purpose.

Even those early flowers, the primroses, are borne on plants whose thick, fleshy, underground parts are almost tuberous in appearance; and it will be found that all the earliest blooming plants of spring are furnished with large stores of nutriment in root or stem.

Only by virtue of these granaries of materialised solar energy, accumulated during the spring and summer of the previous year, are plants able to manufacture leaves and beautiful flowers in those early months during which the sun yields little heat and light, so essential to healthy plant life.

In a sense, we may consider bulbs and tubers as functionally equivalent to seeds, for they contain within sundry wrappings a dormant plant and stores of food material, wherewith the young plant may be nourished from the time when growth commences until the plant can fend for itself….

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