A friendly competition between gardeners

A couple of weeks ago, fellow garden blogger Kylee Baumle (over at Our Little Acre) wrote of her inspirational trip this past spring to the Holland (MI) Tulip Festival and her resulting bulb-planting splurge this autumn. I read her post just before I broke ground on a new 275 sq. ft. mixed border along our driveway, and suddenly it occurred to me that bulbs would be the perfect way to “fill in the gaps” between the newly planted shrubs next spring.

The next day, I started looking for bulbs in every store I entered. Although it has just recently cooled off enough to really plant bulbs here in Central Illinois, most garden centers and departments stores are discounting bulbs faster than they can hang their Christmas decorations. I purchased what I thought was an adequate supply (around 500) and diversity (12 cultivars) of bulbs, and started to plant them, satisfied with the thought of the looming springtime display.

Then, on Twitter, Kylee posted the exact number of bulbs she had planted … 792 bulbs. Now, I’ve been known to be a little competitive, and I was already approaching 600 bulbs, so out to the store I went. By Sunday afternoon, 856 bulbs were planted in the new border and other locations throughout my landscape. The detailed rundown is as follows:

Crocus (70)

  • Crocus ‘Flower Record’
  • Crocus ‘Jeanne D’arc’
  • Crocus ‘Vanguard’
Daffodils (192)
  • Narcissus ‘Barrett Browning’ (12)
  • Narcissus ‘Professor Einstein’ (20)
  • Narcissus ‘Chinese Sacred Lily’ (10)
  • Narcissus ‘Sempre Avanti’ (25)
  • Narcissus ‘Scarlet Royal’ (25)
  • Narcissus (Assorted Mix from Van Zyverden, Inc.) (100)
Tulips (245)
  • Tulipa ‘Yoko’s Dream’ (6)
  • Tulipa ‘Apricot Impression’ (24)
  • Tulipa ‘Negrita’ (30)
  • Tulipa ‘Daydream’ (15)
  • Tulipa ‘Banja Luka’ (12)
  • Tulipa ‘Claudia’ (18)
  • Tulipa ‘Oxford’ (12)
  • Tulipa ‘Purissima’ (18)
  • Tulipa ‘Oxford’s Elite’ (18)
  • Tulipa ‘Lucky Strike’ (12)
  • Tulipa ‘Queen of the Night’ (25)
  • Tulipa ‘Ollioules’ (25)
  • Tulipa tarda (30)
Other Bulbs (349)
  • Scilla sibirica (25)
  • Chionodoxa luciliae (25)
  • Muscari armeniacum (150)
  • Allium ‘Drumsticks’ (75)
  • Allium christophii (4)
  • Iris hollandica ‘Hildegarde’ (70)

I declared my bulb-buying frenzy over, and sent Kylee a friendly, but competitive message: “Did you order more bulbs? I’m up to 856 in the ground. 😉

Later Monday night, I got a succinct reply: “Okay, the bulb total is now at 904.

Every ounce of my competitive spirit wants to put the number over four digits and out of reach, but my garden budget (or what you could loosely call a budget) is arguing otherwise. I may just try to rationalize my way into a win, for my 856 bulbs are spread over my quarter-acre slice of soil, while Kylee’s 904 cover her little acre.

Total bulbs? Kylee takes the trophy. Bulbs per square foot? Well, I come out on top. Regardless, I think this friendly competition between gardeners will emerge beautifully victorious for us both come spring. Since our gardens are less than a five hour drive apart, I hope to have a chance to travel to Our Little Acre for a first hand glimpse of its glory.


Published by Christopher Tidrick

Be real. Love always. Share beauty. Lead well. Learn more.


  1. How good are you at Scrabble? LOL! I love this post. I love it because you get it. It's not really about who can plant the most bulbs, but about who can better resist their siren call. To a gardener, flowers are like chocolates. The more you have, the more you want. And this friendly competition of ours really just gives us both an excuse to buy more bulbs, doesn't it? So let's just put it over the top, shall we? 1000 isn't that far away…



  2. I'm VERY good at Scrabble, actually. Gave up the online version a while ago because it became far too addictive.

    You're right, a couple hundred Scilla or Muscari and we're in four-digit botanical heaven. 🙂



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