Getting to Know Plants 2022 - Eucomis Bulbs - January 2022

Last year, I started a series of posts that I tagged as part of my 2022 garden planning something I've been calling my 2022 plant wish list.  I suppose that's not entirely an accurate way to describe things, as they're not wished-for plants as much as the beginnings of a plant buying prioritization process.  In this post showing the four-season interest of these Autumn Ferns, I mentioned that I should add more.  Same with this post showing a few Arrowwood Viburnum that I picked up late in the season - and mentioned that I needed to find more.  But, the way I'm thinking about what I want to add to the garden this year isn't about wishing as much as it is about going through some logical progression of identifiying needs and prioritizing.  So, I think a better way for me to start thinking about this is more akin to the notion of 'getting to know' some plants for 2022.  That's a clear 'tip of the cap' to Roy Diblik from Northwind Perennial Farm who uses the phrase 'Coming to Know X'.  It also is about allowing myself to explore and catalog some plants that maybe I'm NOT going to come across at the nursery, but would, instead have to plan for through online nurseries or specialty places.  

One of the things that I'm beginning to get my head around - as a gardener - is the idea of unique things being interesting.  I've mostly focused on the foundational stuff - shrubs that work in shade, shrubs that provide a little bit of structure, trees that can survive our zone, some ornamental grasses.  And, for the most part, it is a blend of common items and some more unique cultivars.  

This is (now) the first of what I *think* will be a series of posts all titled: Getting to Know a plant.  I'm starting with a bulb, actually.  Eucomis bulbs.  Also known as Pineapple Lilies.  I first heard of them via Erin at the Impatient Gardener on Instagram and on her site - where she lists them as something she'll grow again.  Erin also has a handy page on her site where she reviews various online nurseries and includes another mention of Eucomis bulbs and how she buys them from Longfield Gardens. I've bought bulbs from Longfield Gardens before - both retail from Costco - and direct (last Fall).

Off I went to the Longfield site to learn about the Eucomis - or Pineapple Lilies.  What are they?  

Eucomis are summer-blooming bulbs with unusual flowers that are the source of this plant's common name: pineapple lily. Depending on the cultivar, the long, strappy leaves can be green or burgundy, and the stems may be freckled with purple. Eucomis flower colors come in white, pink and violet.

Though they look exotic, eucomis are easy to grow and their long-lasting flowers and attractive foliage are always an exciting addition to flowerbeds, borders and containers.

They sell a few varieties, but I ended up deciding to buy some of the Nani variety.  They grow to be 15" tall and are perfect for containers.  (That's where Erin grows them - as a monoculture in a container.  Just take a moment and go see this photo to see how lovely these are to have on hand.)

I put three sets of three bulbs (9 total) in my cart and they're set to show up in mid-April. The confirmation shows an April 11th ship date:

I'm going to put these on the back patio - but (right now) uncertain where, exactly.  Should I put them in the low, wooden corner container?  Surrounded/flanked by other flowers?  Or, plant them as a monoculture in their own container?  Or both?  With nine bulbs, I could (very likely) do both.  Longfield's page says this about bulbs in containers:   "Eucomis grow well in pots and planters. Simply fill a pot with coarse, well-drained soil mix and plant the bulbs. For a nice, full display, plant 3 bulbs in a 12" pot."

This is kind of a fun post to think about as we still are in the middle of the long, dark Winter:  this is the FIRST thing that I've actually bought for the 2022 garden.  Maybe we've turned a corner?

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