Bulbs for Garden Habitats   by Judy Glattstein

Timber Press, 2005. ISBN 0-88192-693-0  Hardback: $29.95



     Chapter 1: An Introduction to Geophytes.  As Glattstein explains this term is “a catchall for bulbous, cormous, tuberous, and rhizomatous plants”, commonly referred to as bulbs.  And she does not miss any.


     In amazing detail, and quoting gardeners from across the country who have personal experience with each bulb, she reviews the conditions under which each one grows best and the varieties you are likely to encounter, as well as the varieties you may never find!  It seems that she has grown most of her subjects, in her present garden in Western New Jersey, or in previous gardens.


     Slightly over 13 pages are devoted to the State of Georgia, discussing old Southern favorites like Crinum, Lycoris (Magic Lily), Zephyranthes (Atamasco and Rain lilies) and the heirloom daffodils that remain the best performers for the south.  “If a southerner offers you any plants,” she reminds us, “you must not say ‘Thank You’. As the saying goes, if you thank for plants, they won’t grow.”


     Before planting any of the geophytes discussed, I would feel more confident if I had read the experiences of other gardeners and Judy Glattstein’s advice about the environments best suited to their success.  Unlike many “experts”, Glattstein does not pretend to have the only or the best answer for each plant.  She is open to the diversity of habitats to which a bulb may accustom itself.  The climate may impact how deeply a bulb should be planted, or how long it may survive, and certainly whether or not it must be dug over the winter.


     An interesting read as well as a good reference.


Review by Karin E. Guzy